Highlands & Islands

Photos show lost Nessie film cast at Loch Ness

Billy Wilder, left, and cast member on the shores of Loch Ness in 1969 Image copyright Elizabeth Album
Image caption Billy Wilder, left, and cast member on the shores of Loch Ness in 1969

Photographs have emerged of a Hollywood film's cast relaxing on the shores of Loch Ness before the production lost its four-tonne Nessie special effect.

Elizabeth Album took the pictures of director Billy Wilder and members of the cast in June 1969 while she was working for BBC film review show.

The Loch Ness Monster made for The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, sank while being towed by a boat.

A new survey has found the prop 180m (590ft) down in the loch.

Mrs Album said: "I was working for Film 69 and we went up to Inverness to film the filming.

"The monster was still there. It was out on the water buzzing around behind a small motor boat.

"It was June and I remember it was boiling hot. It was very exciting at the time."

Image copyright Elizabeth Album
Image caption After losing the 30ft-long Nessie, Wilder had another made and moved the production to a studio
Image copyright AF archive/Alamy
Image caption A still from the movie showing the new prop made following the loss of the 30ft version

The 30ft (9m) model of the legendary monster has been seen for the first time in images captured by an underwater robot, called Munin and operated by Kongsberg Maritime.

Loch Ness expert Adrian Shine said the shape, measurements and location of what was shown in the sonar images pointed to the object being the lost prop.

New monster

Released in 1970, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes was made in the US and UK, where filming was done at Loch Ness and also in a studio.

The film tells of the detective investigating the disappearance of an engineer. The case takes him to Loch Ness and an encounter with a monster.

Sir Robert Stephens played Holmes, Colin Blakely was Dr Watson and Sir Christopher Lee was the sleuth's brother, Mycroft Holmes.

Image copyright Kongsberg Maritime
Image caption An underwater robot detected the Nessie model during a survey of parts of Loch Ness

Talented special effects artist Wally Veevers, whose other work included 2001: A Space Odyssey, Superman and Local Hero, led the building of the monster model.

Wilder is said to have comforted Veevers after watching his creation disappear into the loch.

The director had a new monster made - but just its head and neck - and moved the filming to a large water tank in a film studio.

Related Topics

More on this story