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A French explorer enlists the help of the US Navy in an expedition to the South Pole. There is competition between the airship division and fixed wing fliers, resolved in triumph and disasters.Written by
Michael Crew <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fascinating look at the U.S. Navy's airships in early '30s...
The "7" is strictly for the amazing aerial scenes involving airships or dirigibles (like the Hindenberg that crashed at Lakehurst, N.J.). In fact, all of the aviation moments are skillfully photographed for dramatic effect, especially the fierce electrical storm that destroys one of the dirigibles by pulling it apart in mid-flight.
The romance on the ground is far less convincing than the action sequences involving pilots flying to the South Pole. FAY WRAY is the femme lead, hopelessly in love with hubby RALPH GRAVES and begging his best friend JACK HOLT not to use him on his expedition to the South Pole. She's sick of staying behind and worrying about him and his grandstanding exploits. Unfortunately, none of the domestic scenes between Graves and Wray bear any semblance to reality--her weeping gets pretty tiresome before the plot is resolved.
But FAY WRAY was unquestionably a beautiful woman and director Frank Capra gives her plenty of close-ups. Her role is not particularly well written and she has trouble being anything more than a decorative ploy. RALPH GRAVES is not totally convincing as a reckless pilot. There's an awkwardness about his acting that is somewhat disconcerting here. JACK HOLT handles his role with authority and good screen presence.
A fascinating look at early aviation exploits using dirigibles and balloons when they were seriously considered to be the modern methods of aviation. Well worth watching.
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