In the early days of the 20th century, a British Newspaper offers a prize for the winner of a cross channel air race which brings flyers from all over the world. There are many sub-plots as the flyers jockey for position and the affections of various women. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
The French entry in the race, flown by the character Pierre Dubois, is a replica of the "Demoiselle", designed by the Brazilian expatriate Alberto Santos-Dumont, who had been believed by the French to be the first to fly a powered aircraft, until Wilbur Wright & Orville Wright's demonstrations in 1908. The replica builders were faithful in constructing the Demoiselle, but no one could get it to leave the ground until it was discovered that Dumont had been a very small man who weighed only 85 pounds. A female pilot Joan Hughes was hired. She successfully flew the plane throughout the filming. See more »
1960s ferries are visible in Dover Harbor when the competitors go for a swim in the sea at Dover and later as the planes fly over the white cliffs. See more »
This was a fairly long but interesting story of an early 20th century airplane race taking place between London and Paris. The actual race only takes place for the last 45 minutes, and that's fun to watch. The terrain also is nice to view.
Before that, you get profiles of the competitors of the race. You really get the typical stereotypes of movies: the French men woo all the women; the Germans are make to look too militaristic and stupid; the English are portrayed as very stiff upper-lipped and the Italians are all too emotional, etc.
Stuart Whitman and James Fox both battle for Sarah Miles' affections and Terry Thomas has some funny lines as a villain.
I loved the airplanes in this film - really cool "flying machines," as they are labeled here. They came in all sizes and shapes. In the very beginning of the movie, they show actual footage of early flight failures and they are familiar but still fascinating. Interspiced in the actual footage are closeups of Red Skelton playing the part of some of those unsuccessful fliers. Since he had no lines, Skelton reminded me of some of the great silent film comedians.
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