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Aviation theme

 
 
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 08:20 am
I just saw two Swedish aviation films on DVD, which form a nice double bill both in theme and in title.

The First Squadron (Första Divisionen, 1941, Hasse Ekman) is a wartime film, meant to raise the spirit of the Swedish public at a time when Nazi-Germany was at the peak of its power and could have occupied Sweden without much ado, considering the sorry state of the Swedish defence, especially the air force (For example, the volunteer squadron dispatched to aid Finland against the Soviets in the Winter War 1939-1940 was made up of biplanes with open cockpits!). The aeroplanes used in the film were the most modern ones Sweden possessed at the time, B5 divebombers (license built Northrop A8, with certain modifications for the Swedish circumstances), which were already obsolete when they were taken in use. The plane was not suitable for divebombing, which explains the high number of accidents that occurred. In this film accidents, either due to technical failure or to human error are the main threat that the dutiful pilots face. The rest of the plot is made up of personal drama mostly centred on the fatherly squadron leader. The aerial shots were quite advanced for the time.

The Yellow Squadron (Gula Divisionen, 1954, Stig Olin (father of actress Lena Olin) finds us thirteen years later at the height of the Cold War, when the situation for the Swedish Air Force has changed dramatically. The bad situation during the second World War had led the government to invest heavily in aeroplane development at home, which resulted in a string of advanced jet fighters of which the SAAB J29 "Tunnan" ("flying barrel" you'll understand when you see the jet) as the first. At the time the film was made, the Swedish Air Force was the fourth most powerful in the world and the J29 was for a short while considered the best plane in its class. Given this background the tone in the film is more self-assured (even though a slight propagandistic undertone can be felt, especially in the end shots) and the plot relies mainly on the personal affairs of the pilots, although the aerial shots certainly outdo the human interaction. The special effects are not up to modern Hollywood standards, but that can hardly be expected from a small film from the 1950s.

Both films have one odd thing in common; the total lack of an enemy in the plot, due to Sweden's strict neutrality. This makes it a bit difficult for the uninformed viewer to understand the purpose of the pilots and their hardships. Especially for the 1941 film, this was easy to understand. Sweden was walking a tightrope between the Germans and the Allies and at a moment when Germany seemed invincible it was a bad idea to step on any toes. As an example, the writer of the novel Rid i Natt (also filmed in 1941) ended up on the death list of the Gestapo, for depicting the Germans in his historical novel as totalitarian oppressors ready to crush the Swedish independence. When hearing of this after the war, he, Vilhelm Moberg declared it was the greatest compliment anyone had ever made him.

Anyway, I am digressing (This is after all the film forum, not the history forum), what I intended to ask you film buffs is, if anyone can point me to other aviation flicks, preferably not from the usual suspects (read US and UK), but from more exotic origin. It would be nice to start a collection.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 2,372 • Replies: 18
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Jun, 2005 04:12 pm
Excluding the US and the UK from consideration narrows the field considerably. I don't know of any aviation-themed films from Europe, although I'm sure there are some. Between the wars, Italy and Germany in particular were very interested in aviation, both military and civilian. It would surprise me if those two countries didn't produce any films with an aviation theme.

As for American films:
Wings (1927)
Dawn Patrol (1938)
Hell's Angels
Twelve O'Clock High
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Keep 'Em Flying
The Blue Max
Airport
The Hindenburg
Top Gun
Airplane! (and Zero Hour!)
Air Force One
0 Replies
 
Valpower
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Jun, 2005 04:48 pm
Check this site out. The Mexican Aviation Heritage Film Collection sounds particularly amusing.

http://www.aerospacemuseum.org/library/av.html

Also:

PORCO ROSSO - Hayao Miyazaki

Initially planned as a 30-minute in-flight movie on Japan Airlines, Porco Rosso (92) was intended to be a "distraction for tired business people in a stuffy airplane cabin." Instead, it became another of Miyazaki's magical, feature-length classics, this time about an Italian Air Force pilot in the 1930s, a pig named Marco Porcellino. A virtuoso aviator and bounty hunter, Marco spends the lion's share of his time combating a pernicious if incompetent gang of air pirates, listening to dusty old French songs and soaking up the rays of the sun on the beaches of the Adriatic Sea. Marco thinks he would be the perfect pilot to represent Italian aviation. The only problem is that everyone perceives him as, well, a plain old pig. It's a problem that will take some doing to overcome. (1:33:00) Print courtesy of Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

http://www.nwfilm.org/piff/films/images/PORCO-PRplane2.jpg
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jun, 2005 06:40 am
I mentioned these British aviation filmson another thread:

"The Dambusters" More than one documentary has been made about this British aviation triumph in WWII and this docu-drama is very entertaining and illuminating. Michael Redgrave stars, link:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046889/


"Breaking the Sound Barrier" Directed by no less than David Lean, a really great docu-drama, link:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044446/
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Paaskynen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 11:58 pm
Thanks for your contributions, for those interested in more Swedish aviation films I could mention:
Älskar, älskar inte (1995), the jets featured in this flic are SAAB Viggen (IMO the most beautiful fighter jets ever constructed). The film turns into a disability drama halfway through though.
Hotet (The Threat, 2004), a spy-thriller with the JAS Gripen (the first 4th generation fighter jet in the world) in a prominent role. It also features Swedish AT helicopters.
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Paaskynen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 02:21 am
Just saw another one, a Czech film, Dark Blue world (2001), and thought it was quite well done. I didn't know so many Czechs enlisted in the RAF during WWII (according to the film, over 2000!)
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Paaskynen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2008 12:14 am
Les Chevaliers du Ciel (2005) is toted as the French reply to Top Gun.

Fly Boys (2006) is a quite entertaining WWI film about US pilots in French service.

The First of the Few (1942) is a classic about the designer of the spitfire.
0 Replies
 
barrythemod
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2008 02:43 am
Paaskynen wrote:
Les Chevaliers du Ciel (2005) is toted as the French reply to Top Gun.

Fly Boys (2006) is a quite entertaining WWI film about US pilots in French service.


Les Chevaliers du Ciel (Sky Fighters) wizzes over Top Gun IMHO.It stars a much more attractive plane which is the Mirage 2000.If you have the DVD,go to the Special Features section and select "Aerial Scene".You will be treated to 25 minutes of pure avaition pornography.It's sex on wings.
When they started to make this film,they stuck to the rulebook (can't go below minimum height/don't go beyond minimum distance) but that rulebook was soon torn up and shoved up the afterburner.As opposed to Top Gun,what you see on screen is real with no CGI at all.I love this film,especially as it includes an Alpha Jet (the dolphin of the skies).

Flyboys is a great "saturday morning pictures" flick but as far as the planes are concerned,not historically correct,but who would notice,apart from an aviation nerd :wink:

I too like the Saab family of planes.The Viggen is a mighty beast but,closest to my heart is the diminuative Draken.
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CoriCori
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2008 11:53 am
joefromchicago wrote:
Excluding the US and the UK from consideration narrows the field considerably. I don't know of any aviation-themed films from Europe, although I'm sure there are some. Between the wars, Italy and Germany in particular were very interested in aviation, both military and civilian. It would surprise me if those two countries didn't produce any films with an aviation theme.

As for American films:
Wings (1927)
Dawn Patrol (1938)
Hell's Angels
Twelve O'Clock High
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Keep 'Em Flying
The Blue Max
Airport
The Hindenburg
Top Gun
Airplane! (and Zero Hour!)
Air Force One


I have only seen two out of this list Confused
0 Replies
 
Paaskynen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Sep, 2008 09:45 am
@Paaskynen,
- Så vit som en snö (2001) is another Swedish aviation film. It deals with the life of Sweden's first female aviator and it features flying copies of historical planes like the Bleriot XI (if I am not mistaken).
- Stealth (2005), really predictable, but with some nice flying SFX.
0 Replies
 
Paaskynen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2009 12:57 am
I just saw another one that was not mentioned, A Guy named Joe" from 1943. The planes featured are the B-25 Mitchell, T-6 Texan (known here as Harvard) and P-38 Lightning. And Hurricanes are used in the role of the Me-109 (flying from an aircraft carrier that the kriegsmarine never got ready, but in 1943 the allies couldn't know that). There are also some two-engined machines in the role of Japanse bombers, but I did not get a good enough look at them to determine the type.

The film was the basis of the Spielberg flick Always (1989), which features an B-26 Marauder (or A-26 Invader, am not sure whether it is the same plane) and a PBY Catalina.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2009 04:12 am
@Paaskynen,
There's a film, ack, I've forgotten the name, where a plane crash lands in I think the Sahara and has to be rebuilt. Recently remade.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2009 05:18 am
Quentin Tarintino explains Top Gun (language NSFW)

0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2009 09:19 am
@jespah,
jespah wrote:

There's a film, ack, I've forgotten the name, where a plane crash lands in I think the Sahara and has to be rebuilt. Recently remade.

I believe you're referring to Flight of the Phoenix, originally released in 1965 and re-made in 2004.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2009 09:30 am
Of all the movie stars who played aviators, I think the only aviator who played an aviator may have been Ernst Udet. A famous World War I German fighter ace who actually survived the war, Udet showed up in a couple of German "mountain climbing" movies of the late 1920s playing himself. He's the guy who leads the search for the missing climbers from the seat of his monoplane in Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü and Stürme über dem Mont Blanc, both of which starred a pre-Triumph des Willens Leni Riefenstahl. It's easy to spot him in these films -- everyone points up at the sky and says: "look, it's Ernst Udet!"
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2009 12:32 pm
@joefromchicago,
Thank you; that's it!
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2009 06:43 pm
"The High and the Mighty"

and "The Right Stuff," which was about aviation as much as it was about space.

0 Replies
 
cchindiastore
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 17 Jun, 2013 04:38 am
Top Gun , Flight of the Phoenix are the best of all!
Paaskynen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2015 12:33 pm
@cchindiastore,
Thanks all of you for the suggestions. I have already seen many of them. I saw and liked the first version of the Flight of the Phoenix, but I never bothered with the remake. I also saw Top Gun, but I agree with BarrytheMod that Les Chevaliers du Ciel (Sky Fighters) beats Top Gun easily when it comes to flying imagery. For this film they mounted cameras on actual Mirage 2000 fighters and followed the aerobatics (plus they did not have Tom Cruise, sorry, but I can't stand the guy).

I believe, because of the recent conflicts (less heroic) and the (even more, less heroic) deployment of drones that there is a serious slump in aviation themed films. I can't see the dashing pilot-hero replaced by the energydrinkslurping drone operator in major films...
0 Replies
 
 

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