Tuesday 29 January 2013

Sealed Cargo 1951

The second model ship movie starring Dana Andrews in succession (the first being Deep Waters; see previous post).
This is a tightly scripted and directed little RKO B movie with some very atmospheric miniature shots. The story concerns a Nazi Submarine supply vessel disguised as a partly wrecked sailing ship. In the end the hero ( who is the skipper of a fishing boat) lures three U-Boats to the ship and destroys them all via the waves caused when the supply ship packed with Nazi torpedoes explodes. Lots of fog surrounds the model ships and U-boats which are often no more than silhouettes. Note also the common use of foreground objects to lend depth to the miniature scenes. There are a few examples of the miniatures being used in rear projection process shots. These shots get quite close to the models and they are really well detailed. The backgrounds would have to be filmed first before the live action unit could complete the shot.

Unfortunately no credit for the miniature work can be found. It is all a bit easier to see when in motion than the murky frame grabs would suggest. There are a couple frame grabs below showing where the explosions have brightly exposed the models and surroundings only for a frame or two.

The hero's fishing boat miniature.

Rear projected miniatures background.

More rear projected miniatures backgrounds.

Matte Painting

Searchlight on miniature U-Boat.

Explosion flash frame

First U-Boat gets hit by wave.

Second U-Boat gets hit by wave.

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