After worrying about the vexatious question of KING KONG/SON OF KONG stock footage in CITIZEN KANE, it’s a pleasure to pin down another example of stock footage in an RKO movie.
The ship in KING KONG, the Venture.
The ship in Val Lewton and Mark Robson’s THE GHOST SHIP — the Erutnev.
Not really, of course. It’s the same ship, same footage, flipped into mirror-world by the optical printer in order to create a different shot for the Lewton movie. We’ve heard for ages that Lewton was ordered to make a shipboard movie in order to make use of an existing set — was the set the ship from KONG too? It seems unlikely that it would still be in place ten years after Cooper and Schoedsack’s ape movie was shot, although the Skull Island gate was apparently still there by the time they started shooting GONE WITH THE WIND in 1938-9, when they supposedly set fire to it as part of the burning of Atlanta (what colossal threat did the antebellum Atlantans fear so much that they constructed this giant barrier? Perhaps the thought of a 50ft high black guy carrying off white women was preying on their superstitious native minds.)
Unfortunately, all ships look alike to me, so I find it hard to tell if the deck of the Kong boat is the same as that in Lewton’s modest masterpiece — I will leave this to someone more nautically expert.