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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>
Several of the depictions of escapes from the airship as it was crashing were loosely based on fact. These include the cabin boy who was doused with water from an bursting ballast bag, and the circus acrobat who escaped by swinging from a loose mooring rope. However, unlike the film, the cabin boy was doused by water before he jumped out, and the acrobat did not hold onto a rope but onto the side of the passenger deck. See more »
The incident depicting the Hindenburg's crew repairing the tear in the Zeppelin's cover as it drifts lower and lower over the Atlantic is factual; however, the event occurred on the Graf Zeppelin, not the Hindenburg. See more »
There is no resistance movement, Colonel!
Colonel Franz Ritter:
That's reassuring, coming from the Minister of Propoganda.
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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