Sailors Three 1940

Thanks to Dennis Nicholson for putting me onto this title.

The miniature special effects by Roy Kellino and Douglas Woolsey are pretty typical for British films made during the Second world War period. You get the sense that resources were much tighter than for their American counterparts. For one thing Britain was well into the war, materials would have been scarce while America still had another 2 years before entering the fray. The film would have been released around the time of the Battle of Britain.

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The Heroes of Telemark 1965

Another film Starring Kirk Douglas is this British film directed by Anthony Mann with special effects by the legendary John P Fulton, most famous for parting the red sea in Cecil B DeMille’s Ten Commandments among other notable effects. For a more detailed look at his career I recommend visiting NZ Pete’s excellent MATTE SHOT site.

There are some very convincing miniatures at the climax of the movie.  The shots of the ferry sinking and the train wagons of heavy water sliding into the depths of the fiord are very realistic. It also appears to have been shot on location rather than a studio tank as the background  appears quite genuine. I suspect that very large scale miniatures have been employed. Also notable are the underwater explosions which appear of a substantial size accompanied by an large emission of light.

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Ulysses 1954

This Italian made film, starring Kirk Douglas features a miniature Greek galley in a storm and narrowly dodging a large rock thrown at it.

The special photographic effects are credited to Eugen Shuftan who was known for his Shuftan process which was a method of combining a miniature with live action through the use of a mirror. Generally the miniature was built to one side of the stage and reflected into the lens via the mirror placed in front of the camera. The live action portion of the shot was placed at the back of the stage and photographed at the same time through the mirror where a section of the silver had been carefully removed. Depending on the effect required variations were used where the positions of miniature and live action were reversed or the miniature was replaced with painted artwork.

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Crest of a Wave AKA Seagulls over Sorrento 1954

This movie, made in England, was released everywhere as Seagulls over Sorrento from the title of the play on which it was based but retitled as Crest of a Wave for release in USA and Canada.

It concerns the development of torpedoes for use in midget submarines and their prevalence for exploding in the tube upon firing.

There are a couple of  miniature shots of a target vessel being towed for testing purposes.

The special effects are credited to Tom Howard who was most associated with optical effects. In the late sixties, he went on to be one of the visual effects supervisors on 2001 a Space Odyssey.

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