6.2/10
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6 user 2 critic

The Conquest of the Air (1936)

This documentary traces man's attempts to fly from ancient times through the 1930s.

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(commentary), (commentary) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frederick Culley ...
...
Franklin Dyall ...
Jerome de Ascoli
...
Hay Petrie ...
Tiberius Cavallo
...
Charles Lefeaux ...
Bryan Powley ...
Alan Wheatley ...
Borelli
...
Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier
Charles Frend ...
Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

This drama follows man's attempts to fly from ancient times through the first balloons, the Wright Brothers, and other pioneers, using dramatic re-enactment and working models of early flying machines. Beginning with World War I, archival footage is used. Much on mid-1930s commercial aircraft and experimental planes including early helicopters. In conclusion, some sword-rattling appropriate to the opening months of World War II. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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Plot Keywords:

leonardo da vinci | aviation | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

20 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Conquest of the Air  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First Film of Alan Wheatley. See more »

Goofs

When Chavez is shown flying across the Alps, his departure and arrival points are the same. The same view of the Alps is visible in the background. See more »

Quotes

Vincent Lunardi: In a few years, the sky will be filled with balloons!
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Connections

Referenced in Round the Film Studios: No. 2 Denham Part 5 (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A real mixed bag...
2 June 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

NOTE: While the release date on IMDb says it's 1936, there is a problem with this date. The film version I saw went up to 1938. Perhaps more material was added and I watched a re-release. Or, what's more likely is that the 1936 date is an error.

"Conquest of the Air" is a strange film in that there is a lot to admire and a lot to dislike. On the plus side, it's a nice and rather comprehensive review of the history of flight--with a strong emphasis on the botched attempts to fly from the middle ages up to about 1800. There also is a nice bit about ballooning and dirigibles. So, historically speaking, it's a nice educational overview. HOWEVER, while I admire the film in recreating so many nice tableaux, the narration is dreadfully boring and the film often comes off as an awful educational film--the sort they used to bore kids with in the good old days. Surely this could have been made in a more interesting fashion--this coming from a guy who LOVES airplanes and historical films. In addition, there were some curious omissions--such as the deaths of many of the famous people (such as Wilbur Wright during one of his flights). Worth seeing if you adore planes and balloons but not for the easily bored.

By the way, I think if the film had featured less aviators and spent more time on the most important the overall film would have been more interesting and far less episodic.


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