6.3/10
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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
John Turnbull ...
Charles Lefeaux ...
Bryan Powley ...
Alan Wheatley ...
Borelli
...
Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Conquest of the Air  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First Film of Alan Wheatley. See more »

Goofs

Lilenthal is still breathing when he is discovered 'dead' by his assistant. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: The great interest displayed by the spectators was not so much due to the historical importance of the flight as to the roaring fire kindled immediately under the flimsy and very flammable balloon, which gave the adventure a suicidal aspect. The crowd looked forward to the same enjoyment they would obtain from a public execution.
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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

 
"Hundreds of necks will have to be broken before man can fly."
18 November 2014 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Dry but interesting British docudrama on the history of flight. There's some real footage of people and events for the more recent episodes. The older stuff is shown through dramatic reenactments, some of which are kind of fun. The plane stuff might appeal to aviation buffs but I liked the older stuff. My favorites are the earliest scenes which show a bunch of morons in ancient times jumping off of buildings trying to fly and failing, including Simon the magician. These scenes would be greatly improved if they featured the Goofy holler ("Yaaaaaaa-hoo-hoo-hoo-hooey!"). The cast is fine for what they have to do. The most notable actor in the film is Laurence Olivier and he's only in it briefly. It's not going to be everybody's cup of tea. The narration almost put me to sleep a few times. I think if you're the kind of person who likes the old documentary shorts (I do) then you'll probably find this interesting as it feels like a longer version of one of those.


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