This film is a compendium of the facts and fiction of the events leading up to the disaster. For dramatic effect, Sabotage was chosen as the cause, rather than electricity lashing out at a couple of tons of hydrogen. Written by
Charles Holland <firstname.lastname@example.org>
WLS radio announcer Herbert Morrison was present at the scene of the Hindenburg crash, along with his engineer Charlie Nehlsen, and recorded an eyewitness account of the unfolding tragedy. This audio clip can be heard at the end of the film. However, Nehlsen's recorder was running a bit slow, so that when the recording is played back at normal speed, the pitch of Morrison's real speaking voice is raised slightly. Also note that a slight cracking is audible at one point during the recording. This was caused by the shockwave of the explosion reaching the recorder just after Morrison shouts "It's burst into flames!" See more »
When the Hindenburg flies over New York City, it is shown going north, up the Hudson River from the south end of Manhattan. It should be going south. Lakehurst, N.J. is south of Manhattan. See more »
If a film about The Hindenburg had to be made it certainly would have been made in the decade of the disaster film, the Seventies. But this film labored under a unique handicap that none of the other disaster films of the decade had.
Unlike the sinking of the Titanic or the blowing up of Mount Krakatoa and certainly not like any of the potential but fictional disaster events that were film subjects, The Hindenburg was recorded on sight with newsreel cameras and on radio with Herbert Morrison's never to be forgotten broadcast. A lot of people now still remember it, let alone back in 1975.
What Robert Wise did and maybe more successfully than any other director was make full use of the famous newsreel footage and carefully edited it into his film, with slow motion techniques into the personal attempts by the cast to try and escape the holocaust. The Hindenburg received Oscar nominations for sound, cinematography, and art&set design with a special award for special effects. Yet no nomination for editing which the main plus this film has going for it.
Of course we don't know what ever really happened to the Hindenburg and the film takes account of all the theories put forth. It also uses the real names of the people who were passengers, crew, and officials of the Third Reich. The Nazi government had a big stake in the dirigible fleet they had built, they were as much propaganda value for them as Max Schmeling in boxing and Gottfried Von Cramm in tennis.
Of course had they had access to helium to float the big guys this might never have happened. But the USA had a near total monopoly on the world's helium and was not selling it to Hitler. Hence they used the lighter, but flammable hydrogen with the result of the tragedy.
George C. Scott and Anne Bancroft head the cast as a Luftwaffe official and a worldly old world countess traveling to the USA to visit her deaf mute daughter going to school for same in Boston. The Nazis didn't believe in helping those they considered defectives, another lovable quality about them.
The Hindenburg is a sobering and near factual account of what happened in Lakehurst, New Jersey that afternoon. It's one of the best of the Seventies disaster films and should not be missed.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?