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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 <email@example.com>
For the instant death of Col. Ritter after having the bomb explode in his face, George C. Scott sat on a bicycle seat, leaning against a tilting rig covered in black velvet. Visual effects cinematographer Bill Taylor lit his highlight side with a white key light, the shadow side with blue light and painted his necktie, socks and shoes blue for the blue screen effect. Then, the camera zoomed him back with a 20-1 zoom lens. The background in the final frames of the shot consisted of artwork, pyro elements and a fire extinguisher discharged at the camera. See more »
When the group of Hitler Youth arrive with their flags to waive goodbye to the Hindenburg, the flag in the top left corner of the movie has the swastika with the arms bent to the left (pointing downwards) instead of all the others bent to the right (pointing upwards). See more »
[Playing cards with the Countess, laying his hand down]
Full house! Sorry it's not strip poker, eh, Countess?
Ursula, The Countess:
[Laying her own hand down]
You'd be looking for a fig leaf. Straight flush!
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The film opens with the 1936 Universal logo followed by a newsreel prior to the credits. 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.
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