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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>
The scenes of the airship crashing were filmed in black and white with hand-held cameras so they could allow incorporation of the actual newsreel footage of the Hindenburg crash. See more »
When the two Luftwaffe officers meet Col. Ritter at the airfield to brief him about his mission, they refer to the possibility of him being awarded the Knights Cross to his Iron Cross. As this takes place in 1937 immediately after the Spanish Civil War and before the outbreak of WW2 in September 1939, it would have been impossible because the Knights Cross did not exist until the world war started when new awards of the Iron Cross were instituted and the Knights Cross was also introduced as a higher grade. 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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