Against All Flags 1952

The technicolour is turned up to eleven particularly in the matte painted shots which also suffer from some very apparent bounce in the ocean plate.

It’s also interesting to note that traveling mattes have replaced what used to have been more commonly rear screen projection composites in the shots of the pirates looking at the miniature ship action. Unfortunately there are very obvious matte lines around the actors.

Errol Flynn broke his ankle 5 days short of completing the shoot. The ship set from this film (and possibly the miniatures) were used to shoot another film “Yankee Buccaneer” during a period of 5 months before resuming shooting on Against All Flags.

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Fitzcarraldo 1982

Despite the director Werner Herzog maintaining that everything in the film was shot for real there are a couple of model ship shots in the film and they are very well done.

There must have been a miniature river rapids set built along with the scale model of the steamship.

Unfortunately there is no credits for the miniature sequence.

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Berton Pierce who made the wonderfull documentary about the legendary modelmakers of blockbuster movies “A Sense of Scale” contacted me through the comments section. He has a couple of photographs he took at an exibition in Germany that featured the miniature ship from Fitzcarraldo and here they are below. The first one is a behind the scenes photograph of the miniature shoot that was displayed alongside the model at the exhibition. Although it is a bit blurry it does show the scale of the model with people in the scene.

Fitzcarralldo_BertonPierce_exhibition1 Fitzcarraldo_BertonPierce_Exhibition2Berton’s documentary can be purchased from the link below and I thoroughly recommend it. He has produced a valuable record of a now dying art and even more than that, he has made an entertaining film that is chock full of my heroes talking about the subject I love…miniatures.

Sense Of Scale DVD

The Guns of Navarone 1961

This film won an Oscar for visual effects for its miniatures supervisor Bill Warrington and rightly so as it has a terrific model Greek fishing boat in a storm sequence as well as climaxing with an explosive  model destruction sequence concerning the guns of the title. There is also a miniature Lancaster aircraft crash sequence at the start of the movie, a mostly full size German patrol boat explosion is augmented with some close ups on a miniature version which then sinks. A British destroyer coming through the water thrown up by near misses from the guns also make an appearance in miniature form in a couple of cuts. The full size gun cave set is pretty impressive as well.

Wally Veevers supervised the Optical effects with Bob Cuff responsible for a number of matte paintings sprinkled throughout.

Projected miniature ocean effects also provide the backdrop for the cliff climbing scenes. The Actors are actually lying horizontally on the rock set piece constructed on the floor of the studio with a rear projection screen vertically behind them.

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Run Silent Run Deep 1958

Some state of the art for 1958 miniature effects here, not surprising given the miniatures were supervised by Howard Lydecker and photographed by Clifford Stein. A Arnold Gillespie also gets a credit, again no slouch when it comes to miniature effects, though here I think he may have been responsible for the rear screen process shots.

Along with the expertly produced bespoke model footage is the usual stock torpedo shots that appear again and again in model ship movies since the 1940’s.

According to IMDB the underwater model sequences were shot at the Salton Sea, however it is more likely that the surface shots were done there with the underwater shots done in a Studio tank or pool. The Salton Sea is a very large lake in California which is now under some ecological pressure and greatly diminished from what it was in 1958. It was used as a miniatures filming site by Fantasy II Film Effects for shots of the NTI Ark spires rising up out of the sea in The Abyss (see The Abyss part 3).

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