Sunday 14 December 2014

Luxury Liner 1948

Supervised at MGM by A Arnold Gillespie, the model featured in this light entertainment musical is a 54 foot (16.5m) long Passenger ship called the "Mayflower". It is built at 3/4" = 12" or 1/16th scale. The ships wake is produced by pumps and what Arnold Gillespie in his book " The Wizard of MGM" calls "syphons". I assume this to mean that there is a venturi effect with a water pump arranged to suck air into the system producing bubbles or white water. The bow wave is effected with nozzles mounted at the bow just under the surface of the water and angled back and up producing that curving wave topped with foam.

For the rough ocean shots there were 3 wave machines in the foreground and three in the back. Also there were three wind machines mounted at the back above the wave machines and a total of 6 modified surplus aircraft as wind machines, two of which were mounted on floating pontoons.

A shot of the ship's deck combines the studio partial set with a matte painting and miniature ocean shot in the tank. All the night scenes are shot in full daylight using filtering and altering the exposure to suit.

          One of the shots of the Liner was re-used in the Fred Astaire Movie Royal Wedding 1951.



  1. Another terrific selection December of great old maritime miniatures! I've been wanting to see LUXURY LINER for years, and even more so now you've posted those excellent model effects shots by the great Buddy Gillespie & his ace miniatures man Don Jahraus. Inspiring and thrilling.



  2. The model looks very much like the famous Italian liners of the late 1930's, the REX and CONTE DI SAVOIA, except with narrower funnels. Both ships were sunk during the war. Note that the red, white and green funnel bands are the same as used by the Italian Line.

  3. I Agree with Paul (Jacobs), I remember seeing this film around 25 years ago, I always remembered the ship to represent the Conte di Savioa. After looking at the stills, she seems to be a mix of RMS Queen Elizabeth (bow and bridge), Conte di Savoia (Midships), and SS United States (stern).
    I'm wondering whether those stacks are a tad too small for such a long vessel.
    One thing is for sure - if the "Mayflower" were a cross from those great ships - she would have inherited the attributes of being very big, beautiful and extremely fast!

  4. Not a bad miniature at all. The two funnels are too close together though giving an unbalanced appearance. The after funnel should be closer to the ships midsection.

    I have found that there is an earlier (1933) film of the same title, but with a completely different plot-line on the Internet Archive.


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