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The Zeppelin 'Hindenburg' (1936)

Unrated | | Short, Documentary
A home movie made by a passenger on the zeppelin 'Hindenburg' as it flew from Frankfurt am Main, Germany to Lakehurst, New Jersey, USA starting on 17 September 1936.
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A home movie made by a passenger on the zeppelin 'Hindenburg' as it flew from Frankfurt am Main, Germany to Lakehurst, New Jersey, USA starting on 17 September 1936.

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Short | Documentary

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Unrated
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1.33 : 1
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One of the 50 films in the 4-disk boxed DVD set called "Treasures from American Film Archives (2000)", compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 18 American film archives. This film was preserved by the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. This version has an uncredited piano music score and runs 7 minutes. See more »

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Titanic minus the iceberg
29 September 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

One sees the name "Hindenburg" and immediately conjures up the imagine of a majestic airship suddenly wreathed in flame, a disaster of extraordinary magnitude and Herbert Morrison's anguished cry of "oh, the humanity!" Forget all about that. This seven-minute home movie, filmed in 1936 by an unidentified family, has been preserved by the National Air and Space Museum, and shows us a typical, peaceful journey aboard the airship Hindenburg. Even without any big explosions, this film does nonetheless possess considerable historical value, as the LZ 129 Hindenburg was only operational for a mere 14 months, between March 1936 and May 1937, and only about 500 passengers ever travelled aboard the airship. The film shows us the lavish rooms aboard the ship, as well as the control gondola, where crew members peruse maps and generally look busy. The passengers aboard the ship must certainly have been fairly wealthy; this explains why they would possess such an early home movie camera, which must have been awfully cumbersome, and the brief sequence of colour footage.

This particular journey across the Atlantic took a total of 59 hours (travelling 3466 miles), and carried 72 passengers and 60 crew. The airship appears to drift leisurely over the ocean waves, but the Hindeburg could apparently reach speeds of up to 84 miles per hour, using four Daimler-Benz diesel engines and propellers. The film is entirely silent, though the National Film Preservation Society has added a pleasant classical music accompaniment. The film has the casual, fractured flow of most home movies, but at least the photographer (whoever he/she might be) had the sense to focus primarily on the fascinating technological and structural components of the Hindenberg, rather than showing us family members whom we don't really care about. This historical curio offers the viewer an inside-look at the mechanics of a long-outdated mode of mass transport, and it's intriguing to consider just how far air travel has progressed in subsequent 70 years since this footage was taken. As long as you don't expect fireworks, 'The Zeppelin Hindenburg (1936)' is well worth watching.


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