So Proudly We Hail 1943

Some impressive miniature work by the great Gordon Jennings in this film made during and concerning nurses in the second World War. Of particular note is the night time sequence of the island evacuation using small boats while under fire, all in miniature both outright shots and as process rear projected backgrounds to the live action actors.

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Northern Pursuit 1943

This Errol Flynn Nazi spy movie has some miniature ship stock shots lifted from previous productions, followed by a miniature submarine surfacing through ice. It also has a miniature avalanche, train and aircraft sequence, making it a bit of a treat for miniature enthusiasts like myself. The Special effects are supervised by Roy Davidson.

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The Princess and the Pirate 1944

As pointed out by reader Mathias’ comments on Buccaneer’s Girl (1950),  The Princess and the Pirate and The Black Swan (1942) were a source for a number of technicolor stock shots for pirate movies of the early 1950s’ including Anne of the Indies(1951) and Double Crossbones (1951).


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Crash Dive 1943

Visual Effects by 20th Century Fox’s legendary head of special effects Fred Sersen.

This film shares the leading actor, special effects supervisor and the special effects technique of putting live actor moving figures on the decks of the miniature ships using a traveling matte.

There are also a number of very effective split screen composites where part of the screen is live action and part miniature with the blends matching pretty seamlessly across the water surface.

My guess is that along with the hero submarine model there was also a larger conning tower miniature for the close up shots of the conning tower surfacing.

As usual Fred Sersen’s miniature pyrotechnics are full of impact and variety and add to the technicolour effect.


The shots were taken in the Fox tank known then as the moat. The land it stood on was sold off in 1960 for what is now known as Century City. A larger tank was built on the Fox ranch a few years later for Cleopatra and used for many subsequent productions including Tora Tora Tora. It was named the Sersen Lake in honor of Fred Sersen .

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