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The Gypsy Moths (1969)

 -  Action | Drama | Romance  -  28 August 1969 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,111 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 9 critic

Three skydivers and their travelling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: The Gypsy Moths (1969)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mike Rettig
...
Elizabeth Brandon
...
Joe Browdy
...
Malcolm Webson
...
V. John Brandon
...
Annie Burke
...
Waitress
Carl Reindel ...
Pilot
Ford Rainey ...
Stand Owner
John Napier ...
Dick Donford
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Storyline

On a 4th of July weekend, three barnstorming skydivers arrive to perform in a small Kansas town. They are hosted by the youngest member Webson's aunt, the unhappily married Elizabeth. While Browdy one-nights with a topless dancer, a doomed romance flares up between Elizabeth and Rettig. Tension builds, and explodes with a spectacular skydiving show. Written by Markku Kuoppamäki

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When you turn on by falling free... when jumping is not only a way to live, but a way to die, too... you're a Gypsy Moth. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 August 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die den Hals riskieren  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During filming at the airfield in Benton, Kansas, director John Frankenheimer wanted to get a real, horrified reaction from the extras playing the audience, so he had a mannequin dressed like a skydiver and tied it under a helicopter, which ascended several hundred feet, then released the dummy. Most of the people hadn't noticed what had been rigged up, so when it fell they thought it was a real person hitting the ground and he got the reaction he was looking for. One minor problem was that the pilot didn't gauge the wind accurately and the "skydiver" fell into some parked cars, narrowly missing some people and caving in the roof of an extra's car. The studio bought the car for several times what it was worth and the damaged vehicle spent the rest of the shooting behind one of the hangers. See more »

Goofs

During the parachute jump that opens the film, the Gypsy Moths jump from the exact same plane flown by the same pilot they meet and hire - supposedly for the first time - in another town several days later. See more »

Quotes

Malcolm Webson: Remember what you always said when I first started with you? "Be careful." That's what you always said. "That's what's important in this business kid. BE careful."
Mike Rettig: Is that what I always said?
Malcolm Webson: Why are you taking so many chances now? What are you trying to prove?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Sky Divers (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Wild Blue Yonder
("U.S. Air Force Song")(uncredited)
Music and lyrics by Robert MacArthur Crawford
First two lines sung by Gene Hackman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A personal experience with Deborah Kerr while making this movie.
31 January 2006 | by (Wichita, Kansas) – See all my reviews

When action scenes for "Gypsy Moths" were about to be shot, mostly at the Benton,Kansas airfield, I was 18 and living in Wichita. Due to my interest in acting, mainly in High School productions, I, along with my five brothers and sisters and Mother who was a bit of a ham herself, answered a "cattle call" for crowd scenes at Benton Airfield. Because I was Burt Lancaster's general height and build and was the same size, 42 Long, I was upgraded to Stand-in for him and ended up standing in for all the principle male characters except Gene Hackman who used his brother. There was a scene in a park in El Dorado, KS where Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster sit on a merry-go-round and talk. He then stands up and leans in rather closely to Ms. Kerr. The director wanted to change the lighting on that particular shot to compensate for Mr. Lancaster's new position. He called for the "Seconds" to take the actors' places while they fine tuned the lighting. At that moment Deborah's stand-in was over by the swings, in the process of losing the greasy chili which had been catered that night and couldn't answer the call. John Frankenheimer was upset by her failure to report and acted like he was about to fire her, but, always the gracious lady, Ms. Kerr said she was fine just sitting there and would stand in for herself. The scene required that Burt Lancaster lean in to the point that their faces are mere inches apart. There she was, the consummate professional and I, standing in for Mr. Lancaster, was face to face with an actress I had loved ever since seeing her in such films as "From Here to Eternity" and "The King and I". It's understating my uneasiness by saying I was sweating bullets and worrying about my breath. She sensed my discomfort and proceeded to ask me questions like what I aspired to be (she didn't say 'when I grew up', which was, to me, just more evidence of her class) to set me at ease. At the time I was very interested in an acting career and she said that if I ever got to Hollywood to look her up and she would get me an appointment with her agent. What amazed me about the exchange was that I realized she was serious and would very probably have taken the time out of her busy schedule to do just that. My esteem for her grew many fold that night. Although I understand she now lives in Switzerland, I have often thought that even though I am in my 50's and gave up the thought of acting professionally years ago, it would be great if she still lived in Hollywood and I was able contact her. I would remind her of what she said 36 years ago and ask when she would be able to take me to see her agent. At 85 years old, I wouldn't be surprised if she said, "Give me a couple of minutes and we'll go over right now." Deborah Kerr, I still love you and I always will.


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