The US Flags throughout the re-enactment are all 50 state flags with 50 stars. The US had only 48 states at that time therefore the flags had only 48 stars. You can tell by the staggering offset of alternating rows of stars. The 48 star flag had a perfect rectangular alignment. See more »
An overlong rather bland production with no surprises except one fine performance.
A no larger than medium sized budget re-enactment of the immediate circumstances surrounding the crashing in flames of the mighty German airship Hindenburg in 1937 on its arrival in the USA and the subsequent investigation into the cause by its designer.
A fairly plain story extended to nearly 2 hours duration with breaks, 89 mins without, its heavily portentous trailing that the cause will be shocking and unexpected turns out to be itself a damp squib when finally revealed. The death toll was, considering the inferno from which they escaped, relatively low at 35 with something like 60 survivors. Its place as a historical event was due mainly to the extreme spectacle of the airship's demise, the fact that it was filmed and that a recording was made of a live commentary by a journalist who had been there to report on a grand happy occasion but instead witnessed a disaster. Inserted into this rather plain tale were archive recordings of actual survivors which injected a genuine sense of the emotions of those who could still hardly comprehend how they had managed to walk away and live.
One performance was rather outstanding. Veteran British actor Malcolm Tierney who plays the designer of the Hindenburg, has been regular but probably largely unknown face in countless TV productions. Here though he portrays the gravitas and humanity of the character with great authority - and with a consistent and convincing German accent too. Actress Lorelei King managed to outshine and overwhelm her screen husband Joe McCann despite having almost nothing to do.
A joint production with various European broadcasters its stance on the Nazi connection was rather muted and ecumenical (German airships had been used as long range bombers in WW1 - the USA were the only suppliers of non-inflamable helium but had put an embargo on its supply to Nazi Germany).
Within the last 10 years a documentary was shown on British television which sought to scientifically demonstrate that the cause of the fire was not the hydrogen but the aluminium power mixed into varnish used to coat the entire outer fabric of the Hindenburg. This does raise a question about the point of this two hour dramatised re-enactment if it did not look beyond the findings just after the accident nor was particularly enlightening about the atmosphere of mixed hostility and welcome for this massive symbol of Nazi technology on its arrival in the USA.
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