Captains Courageous 1937

This was one of my favorite films as a kid. It has a couple of miniature ship shots in it and a terrific title treatment using crashing waves to change the text. In these days the miniatures were the province of the art department, a separate special effects department was still not thought necessary. Its not surprising to find that Arnold Gillespie was an associate art director on the film under MGM’s chief art director Cedric Gibbons.

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Captain Blood 1935

Captain Blood really re-invigoratedĀ  the swashbuckler genre. The previous era of swashbucklers had been made in the 1920’s when full size ships were more the style than the use of miniatures. In fact this film borrowed some footage from the silent movie Sea Hawk made in 1924. The miniature work is energetic with impressive scenes of splintering hulls and spars, setting the bar for the classic pirate films to follow. Fred Jackman was the special effects supervisor. He was the head of Warner Brothers special effects department but left around this time to start his own independent special effects company.

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Submarine D1 1937

Visual effects by Byron Haskin andĀ  Hans F (Fred) Koenekamp.

Some of the torpedo shots for this film got used on many a black and white Warner Brothers film over the years.

Unfortunately the only copy I could locate is a bit murky, a digital version from a VHS TV taping.


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