Monday, November 9, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not

If the ballroom on board ship in “A Blueprint for Murder” (1953), covered here last month, looks familiar, perhaps you remember it from another movie released earlier that year, “Titanic” (1953). Here, Brian Aherne holds court at the Captain’s table on the Titanic.

Where Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters met towards the movie’s end for romantic subterfuge and a potentially fatal showdown, Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck met to condemn a failed marriage. Coincidentally, both men were to have sneaked onto the ship at the last minute to surprise their ladies. It’s interesting to look at the set from different angles.

Joseph Cotten in “A Blueprint for Murder” ballroom.

Jean Peters approaches Joseph’s Cotten’s table.

A similar vantage point in “Titanic”.

Clifton Webb greets his son in “Titanic.”

Reportedly, this set was also used for shipboard scenes in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Dangerous Crossing”, both of which were released in 1953. Quite the year for going on a cruise.


Thom said...

I had no idea that the set from Titanic was used for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Now I'll have to rent 'em both and take a closer look. I really like the various angles you captured here, Jacqueline. It's interesting to note how much headroom the cinematographer gives the actors. It combines with the vertical shapes of the columns and extends a feeling of a large, expansive space.

I wonder how many times we've seen the same set in the old studio pictures and not realized it? One of the most interesting re-using of sets that I've stumbled across in blogging was for G.I. Joe (1945) in which the producers used the backs of outdoor sets stretching back to the silent era and saved $$ because by that time the sets already looked like they'd been through the war! :D

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Hi, Thom. I guess they figured the "Titanic" set was so grand, it would be a shame to use it for only one picture. The space does look huge, doesn't it? I didn't know about the "G.I. Joe" sets. I love that kind of trivia.

Dallas said...

Not only did the sets of "Titanic" get recycled, so did the ship model. The miniature Titanic, something like 25 feet long, got modified to resemble the Queen Mary for "Dangerous Crossing" and was used again, in color, in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". These are expensive items and one cannot blame the studios for wanting to get their money's worth out of them.

Similarly, several relief panels from "Cleopatra" got recycled into the dining room set of "The Poseidon Adventure". That's right! Look closely and you will see those images are not Greek but Egyptian. Old "Twilight Zone" episodes contain many props such as room decor, lamps, etc. used over and over, as well as flying saucers, ancient castles, and robots.

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Welcome, Dallas, and thank you for this very interesting information! It's always so much fun to look more closely as the background of our favorite old films and make new discoveries.

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