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Hell's Angels (1930) Poster

(1930)

Trivia

Stunt pilots refused to perform an aerial sequence that director Howard Hughes wanted. Hughes, a noted aviator himself, did his own flying. He got the shot, but he also crashed the plane.
More than 70 pilots were used in the film. Three of them died during shooting.
Entire film had been filmed as a silent, minus a soundtrack, by Howard Hughes in 1928. Greta Nissen had the role played later by Jean Harlow. When sound equipment became available Hughes decided to re-shoot the whole film as a talkie.
An eight-minute two-strip Multicolor sequence remains the only surviving color footage of its star, Jean Harlow.
This film cost $3.8 million, so expensive that it made no profit on its first release.
Although it has been reported that Hughes re-shot all the silent material, that seems unlikely looking at the footage shot in the dirigible. The voices are out-of-sync and some of the action seems hurried, suggesting it was shot at a silent speed of 18 frames per second, rather than 24 fps sound speed and dubbed later.
249 feet of film was shot for every foot used in the final cut.
Was the most expensive movie ever made at the time of its release.
Howard Hughes had all the prints tinted and hand-colored before releasing them for general distribution.
Howard Hughes hired WWI aces to fly the planes but also flew one himself; he crashed shortly after his first takeoff and broke several bones.
All color prints of the movie were thought to be lost until a print was found in John Wayne's personal vault in 1989, ten years after the actor's death, by his son Michael Wayne. That explains why the younger Wayne's name appears on the credits of the restored version. It is possible that Wayne received the print from the film's producer/director, Howard Hughes. The actor starred in Jet Pilot (1957) for Hughes in 1949, but the film was not released until 1957 because Hughes continued to have the flying sequences re-shot, a situation not unlike this film.
Stunt pilot Clement K. Phillips was killed in a crash in Hayward, California, while delivering one of the airplanes to the Oakland location.
Pre-Production Code audiences gasped at the language of the pilots during the dogfight scenes with Baldy screaming "son of a Bosch!" at the Germans and Monte cursing "son of a bee!".
"Hell's Angels" was the top movie at the U.S. box office for 1930 by a wide margin.
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For the 1939 re-release by Astor Pictures, the film was cut to 90 minutes, mostly to eliminate pre-code sequences which were marginally acceptable in 1930, but no longer permitted after 1934; a six minute prologue about the history of aviation was then added to introduce the film.
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This film was first telecast on New York City's pioneer television station W2XBS in two parts, Thursday-Friday 10-11 August 1939. It is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-1946.
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Thelma Todd had a supporting role which was eventually written out of the script.
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Although Hugo Reisenfeld receives screen credit for the film's music score, there is no actual score during the film and the main title music is actually based on a theme from the 5th Symphony by Tschaikowsky. The only music heard in the film is purely source music inherent in the scene.When a band is playing waltzes by Johann Strauss in the party scene for example or if a phonograph record can be seen playing.
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