The Lost Continent 1968

Some atmospheric model ship shots in this famously off the wall film. Miniatures supervised by Cliff Richardson a renowned figure in British special effects.

I presume the credit for  Robert A. Mattey was for the assorted full size mechanically operated monsters that appear in the latter stages of the film. He was most known for the giant squid that  is seen in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea  in 1954 and “Bruce” the shark in Jaws in 1975.

The one criticism I have is that the stagnant sea is just too flat for scale realism and would have been more effective if it had had some fine ripples on its surface.

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Admiral Yamamoto 1968

Rengô kantai shirei chôkan: Yamamoto Isoroku, original Japanese title literally translated as Combined Fleet Admiral – Isoroku Yamamoto.

This Toho film re-uses almost all the miniature effects footage of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway from “Storm Over the Pacific” (1960) and some aerial battles from “Attack Squadron” (1963) both previous Toho productions with miniature sequences supervised by Eiji Tsubaraya.

There are however some  new Tsubaraya sequences, most notably the depiction of the shooting down of the “Betty” bomber carrying Admiral Yamamoto by attacking American P-38 fighters over Bougainville in New Guinea. The miniature jungle is suitably dense and impenetrable.

WarSeaofJapan planes

One of the joys of these Japanese war epics is the prolific pyrotechnic effects. All the miniature guns on the ships are in virtually continuous fire. There is also tracer fire being hurled at the miniature aircraft from off screen and leaving bright red streaks of light.

The picture below shows the preparation of the pyrotechnics for the firing of the guns on the main battleship miniature.

JapShip

 

Some more behind the scenes photographs of the ship and aircraft miniatures can be found on the moon-city-garbage.agency website. There is an assortment of other interesting articles with photographs concerning miniatures to be found on this site as well.

Some of the miniature footage from Admiral Yamamoto appears in the American movie “Midway”(1976).

 

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Thanks once again to Roger Todd for his enthusiastic assistance with the visual material for this post.

 

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Captain Nemo and the Underwater City 1969

Essentially an odd adaption of Jules Verne’s 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea. The Nautilus is a decent “steampunk” alternative to Disney’s version designed way before the term steampunk was coined. I first became aware of this film from seeing a photo of the model in a studio store room in Raymond Fielding’s classic book Special Effects Cinematography, see below.

Fielding

In 2011 the model was sold at auction and fetched 14 000 US dollars.

10499761_1 10499761_2 10499761_3The underwater miniature effects look like they were shot dry and not in a tank. Small amounts of smoke trail from the tips of the wings, an interesting detail added to the miniature to help make it look like it is streaming silt underwater. A few close up shots suffer from too shallow a depth of field with parts of the model in soft focus. Generally British special effects men have to work across all areas of special effects however of the three credited, Richard Conway became more known for his miniatures work, while George Gibbs was usually associated with mechanical and physical effects and Jack Mills for special effects cinematography. Both Richard Conway and George Gibbs must have been at (or very close to) the start of their feature film special effects careers on this film.

Nautilus_1 Nautilus_at_barrier

Nemo_Lobby_2 Nemo_Lobby_1

 

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