Hoping to push Britain to the forefront of aviation, a London publisher organizes an international air race across the English Channel, but must contend with two entrants vying for his daughter, as well as national rivalries and cheating.
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Don Knotts is Roy Fleming, a small town kiddie-ride operator who is deathly afraid of heights. After learning that his father has signed him up for the space program, Roy reluctantly heads ... See full summary »
In the infancy of aviation in 1910, 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 subplots as the flyers jockey for position and the affections of various women.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
The French entry in the race, flown by the character Pierre Dubois, is a replica of the "Demoiselle", designed by the Brazilian expatriate Alberto Santos Dumont, who had been believed by the French to be the first to fly a powered aircraft, until Wilbur Wright & Orville Wright's demonstrations in 1908. The replica builders were faithful in constructing the Demoiselle, but no one could get it to leave the ground until it was discovered that Dumont had been a very small man who weighed only 85 pounds. A female pilot Joan Hughes was hired. She successfully flew the plane throughout the filming. See more »
1960s ferries are visible in Dover Harbor when the competitors go for a swim in the sea at Dover and later as the planes fly over the white cliffs. See more »
The Neanderthal Man:
[watches a gull flying over a beach]
Ever since man started to think, he's wanted to fly. But flying was strictly for the birds.
The Neanderthal Man:
[flapping his arms enthusiastically, he leaps from a sandy bluff and falls onto the beach below]
And continued to be so for thousands of years.
[in ancient Greece, a man wearing makeshift wings is forced at swordpoint off a temple roof]
Man, eternally optimistic, kept trying.
[...] 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 »
"Up, Down, Flying Around, Looping The Loop And Defying The Ground"
I'm one of the biggest fans of old newsreels and I don't think there are too many of us who haven't seen some of that ancient footage with all those odd contraptions showing man's attempt to fly in the early 20th century. I guess it was only a matter of time before someone got the bright idea to do a comedy from those attempts.
Some of them weren't all that funny, people did in fact get killed, a lot of them in trying to master the air. But by 1910 there were all kinds of airplanes and even some early helicopters and a lot are shown in Those Magnificent Men.
The plot centers about an international race from London to Paris sponsored by one of the English press lords played in true John Bull style by Robert Morley. He's got a spirited suffragette daughter in Sarah Miles and a most proper member of the King's Coldstream Guards in James Fox courting her.
But along comes another flier, an American cowboy, Stuart Whitman who becomes Fox's air and romantic rival. But the film's got more than that. It's got Italian hopeful Alberto Sordi who can impregnate his wife with a dirty look. It's got Frenchman Jean Pierre-Cassel who keeps running into Irina Demick every place he goes. It's even got another English contestant in Terry-Thomas who's busy trying to sabotage everyone else.
However my favorite is the German entry, Gert Frobe. Poor Frobe has to pinch hit for the original German flier who partied too hardy. But as he tries to prove as long as you follow the instruction book, the German Army can accomplish anything. Seeing him try to fly his airplane while reading the instruction book is my favorite memory of Those Magnificent Men.
That and that incredibly catchy title song. I defy anyone to watch this film and not come away humming that tune for weeks. It will embed itself in your subconscious forever.
Those Magnificent Men is good entertainment and a gentle tribute to those early air pioneers.
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