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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>
Absorbing but slow-moving disaster film could have been so much better...
Even the presence of someone like GEORGE C. SCOTT can't save THE HINDENBERG from being a less than extraordinary recreation of the famous tragedy at Lakehurst, N.J. when the German dirigible fueled by hydrogen caught fire during its landing during a lightning storm.
The most compelling footage comes toward the end of the film, when the craft is about to land and we know the unthinkable is about to happen. The special effects (designed by Alfred Whitlock) are especially strong here and combined with actual black and white footage of the event, it is mind boggling to watch. Ironically, the craft was so close to landing, with men on the ground already holding onto the landing ropes to secure the craft for its safe approach.
Unfortunately, the script Robert Wise directs is sub-par as far as interest in the characters. I'd be tempted to call it "Grand Hotel in the Sky" but there's not even enough soap-opera element to the cast of passengers that make any of them memorable, including ANNE BANCROFT, as a Countess, GIG YOUNG and BURGESS MEREDITH.
The plot is mostly fiction about a crew member causing a bomb to explode and ignite the huge aircraft, not really substantiated by the known facts although it makes for a compelling story. Historically correct or not, it's a film worth seeing but don't expect a disaster film comparable to THE TOWERING INFERNO or TITANIC.
What's really fascinating is seeing what the inside of the dirigible is like for passenger travel, truly elegant and comfortable...a reminder of the sort of elegance that greeted those aboard the TITANIC.
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