Sunday, 9 May 2021

The Sea Chase 1955

 This John Wayne, Lana Turner film has a few shots with a miniature ship in it. While most of the exterior action takes place on a full size cargo ship, a miniature is used for night shots in fog, in a storm and features in a close up on the bow during the opening credits. A British naval vessel also appears as a miniature or possibly only a flat cutout as it is only seen as a silhouette in a couple of distant shots.

The miniatures were supervised by H.F. (Fred) Koenekamp ASC.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Careful He Might Hear You 1983

 This Australian film has a sequence near the end of the film where a character dies in a ferry collision with an ocean liner. The incident in the story is based on a real event in Sydney in 1927 when the Greycliffe ferry collided with the Union Steamship Company’s liner Tahiti.

The Tahiti is represented in the film by a model built by Lewis Morley. The filmakers requested a  compression of the horizontal dimensions of the ship thus making a shortened squeezed looking model.

Lewis Morley and his completed distorted model Tahiti.

The film was a widescreen production, more than likely shot anamorphic. My guess is the reason for the horizontal shortening of the model is so that it could be shot using a spherical lens which generally has a greater depth of field than an anamorphic lens. Once the footage is stretched out by anamorphic projection it would look correct. 

In a couple of shots the model appears as a background projection seen through the windows of the ferry. One other shot is of the model itself. Despite the attempts at maintaining the depth of field the shots generally suffer from a shallow depth of field softness, mainly as the model is quite a small scale for a movie ship miniature, however the whole sequence has a dreamy quality so this seems to fit.

Friday, 23 April 2021

The Big Broadcast of 1938

A movie musical variety show that features a race between two ocean liners, the Colossal and the Gigantic both represented in the film by miniatures. The Colossal is based on the Normandie while the Gigantic is a futuristic (for the late 1930's) art deco design that features a series of propellers arranged along each side.

Another Art Deco sci-fi design appears in the film in the shape of a flying scooter equipped with fold out wings and a rear mounted propeller, that WC Fields' character flies out to the Gigantic.

The visual effects were supervised by Gordon Jennings.

The whole film can be seen on Youtube.


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