Saturday, 29 December 2018

A Guy Named Joe 1943

There are some astounding miniature pyrotechnics in this film supervised by A. Arnold Gillespie with models supervised by Don Jahraus, as well as a lot of historical anachronisms.

The main character, (spoiler alert) played by Spencer Tracy is killed while bombing a German Aircraft carrier, the only problem being that the Germans never had an operational aircraft carrier during the second world war. Japanese bombers are represented by Martin B26 Marauders and Japanese fighters appear as early P51 Mustangs.

Most of the miniature ship effects shots are pretty well executed along with the miniature aircraft, with the exception of one or two close shots marred by the visible support wires of a Lydecker style rig (see model control). The explosions caused by the destruction of an ordnance dump hidden in a cave however are outstanding in the sheer size, violence and massively voluminous clouds of smoke produced.

Rigging the P38 model's wires for its run across the MGM lake to bomb the ammo dump in the cave. Note distant effects technicians on the miniature rocky outcrop in the background. The distant mountains are painted on the sky backing.

The flack bursts seen in a few shots were possibly produced by dropping clumps of white powder onto a black background and filming from above. The resulting negative of a black powder burst on a white or clear background would then be used as a hold out on the sky in the miniature footage to produce the dark flack bursts using an optical printer.

A montage of returning US aircraft features this single shot of what looks like models of Martin B26 Marauders. These same models appear later in the film as Japanese bombers.

All the P38s are on the process screen except for the second from the bottom which is a model.

Lydecker rig wires clearly visible.

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