In the early days of the 20th century, a British Newspaper offers a prize for the winner of a cross channel air race which brings flyers from all over the world. There are many sub-plots as the flyers jockey for position and the affections of various women.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In keeping with the movie's international appeal, the producers announced Fernandel for a role but the deal was never finalised. See more »
The Germans are introduced with the song "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles" ("Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit") which became the national anthem in 1922. In 1910, the imperial anthem "Heil dir im Siegerkranz" had the same melody as Britain's "God Save the King" and America's "My Country Tis of Thee." However, "Deutschland" was already a well-known song, and in any case it is heard by the audience, not the characters. This distinctly German song is a deliberate choice for the scene, as playing the "God Save" melody for Germans would be extremely confusing to a modern audience. See more »
For the major roles, caricatures of the main cast drawn by Ronald Searle are seen on screen with the name of performer and the character, after which each screen of credits has a drawing by Searle, based on the theme of the film. See more »
This was a fairly long but interesting story of an early 20th century airplane race taking place between London and Paris. The actual race only takes place for the last 45 minutes, and that's fun to watch. The terrain also is nice to view.
Before that, you get profiles of the competitors of the race. You really get the typical stereotypes of movies: the French men woo all the women; the Germans are make to look too militaristic and stupid; the English are portrayed as very stiff upper-lipped and the Italians are all too emotional, etc.
Stuart Whitman and James Fox both battle for Sarah Miles' affections and Terry Thomas has some funny lines as a villain.
I loved the airplanes in this film - really cool "flying machines," as they are labeled here. They came in all sizes and shapes. In the very beginning of the movie, they show actual footage of early flight failures and they are familiar but still fascinating. Interspiced in the actual footage are closeups of Red Skelton playing the part of some of those unsuccessful fliers. Since he had no lines, Skelton reminded me of some of the great silent film comedians.
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