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Dirigible (1931)

Passed | | Adventure | 4 April 1931 (USA)
Jack Bradon is tasked to reach the South Pole with a dirigible.

Director:

Frank Capra (as Frank R. Capra)

Writers:

Frank Wead (story) (as Commander Frank Wilber Wead U.S.N.), Jo Swerling (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Holt ... Jack Bradon
Ralph Graves ... 'Frisky' Pierce
Fay Wray ... Helen Pierce
Hobart Bosworth ... Louis Rondelle
Roscoe Karns ... Sock McGuire
Harold Goodwin ... Hansen
Clarence Muse ... Clarence
Emmett Corrigan Emmett Corrigan ... Rear Adm. John S. Martin (as Emmet Corrigan)
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Storyline

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 <m.crew@bbcnc.org.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Giant epic of the air! (One-sheet poster).

Genres:

Adventure

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 April 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Luftschiff See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Harari directed, adapted and wrote dialogue for a French version; Egon Goltzen directed a German version, both at the same time of the English version. See more »

Goofs

At 57:23, when Clarence and Sock are talking, lighting equipment is visible in the reflection of Clarence's glasses. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Round About Hollywood (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

The Star Spangled Banner
(1814) (uncredited)
Music by John Stafford Smith
Hummed by Ralph Graves and Roscoe Karns
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Action! Thrills! Blimps!
16 September 2007 | by Scott_MercerSee all my reviews

Okay, I know, they are not blimps. They are Zeppelins. "Airships" was the preferred term by the U.S. Navy.

This is a very exciting action film for 1931. Apparently made with quite a high budget. I saw model shots, large sound stages filling in for Antartica, thousands of extras, real airships, and a gigantic ticker tape parade shot on location in New York City. All of these things cost much money. The U.S. Navy's use of airships was so brief that this film also marks one of the few stories about this chapter in our military history.

This film proves that Capra was also adept at high intensity action directing (for 1931) as well his usual character-driven morality plays that he became so well-known for.

The one thing that is the most striking to me about (some) early talking pictures, of which this is one, is that they have hardly any music score. This is true here, and only adds to the isolated feeling in the scenes of the doomed expedition struggling to escape from the frozen tundra. Plenty of sound effects in the scenes of the doomed Pensacola going down, but no music. In fact, the film even uses a few silent film style narration cards.

Anyway, in spite of this film dating from 1931, it has aged really well and doesn't seem too dated at all. A nice action/adventure film. The print they showed on TCM on television was in very good shape, even the sound was strong in most places. Yes, the love story seemed tacked on, but there are thousands of films in the history of Hollywood that could have survived artistically with their romantic subplots (probably inserted at the insistence of cigar-chewing studio bosses to get "the female market") jettisoned. In any case, this movie is quite entertaining and Worth checking out.


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