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Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes (1965)

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.

Director:

Ken Annakin
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stuart Whitman ... Orvil Newton
Sarah Miles ... Patricia Rawnsley
James Fox ... Richard Mays
Alberto Sordi ... Count Emilio Ponticelli
Robert Morley ... Lord Rawnsley
Gert Fröbe ... Count Manfred Von Holstein (as Gert Frobe)
Jean-Pierre Cassel ... Pierre Dubois
Irina Demick ... Brigitte / Ingrid / Marlene / Françoise / Yvette / Betty
Eric Sykes ... Courtney
Red Skelton ... The Neanderthal Man / Ancient Greek Flyer / Medieval Flyer / Winged Bicycle Rider / Winged Car Rider / Jet Pack Tester / Ornithopter Pilot / Passenger in Airport
Terry-Thomas ... Sir Percy Ware-Armitage
Benny Hill ... Fire Chief Perkins
Yûjirô Ishihara ... Yamamoto (as Yujiro Ishihara)
Flora Robson ... Mother Superior
Karl Michael Vogler ... Captain Rumpelstrosse
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

20th Century-Fox Presents The Motion Picture That Sets Comedy Ahead 100 Years! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | German | Italian | Japanese

Release Date:

16 June 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$31,111,111
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)

Color:

Black and White (prologue)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
The Neanderthal Man: [watches a gull flying over a beach]
Narrator: 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]
Narrator: 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]
Narrator: Man, eternally optimistic, kept trying.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Karel Zeman: Adventurer in Film (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule, Britannia!
(uncredited)
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Heard at the finish line
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Up, Down, Flying Around, Looping The Loop And Defying The Ground"
10 October 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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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