Showing posts with label aviation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aviation. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Aeroplane Watch: The Dawn Patrol (1938)


Watched:  09/01/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930s

This is, apparently, the second version of the same story.  Just this weekend Jamie and I were discussing reboots and relaunches, and I made some noise about "well, they've always remade popular stuff" and this is a pretty good example.  The first version of The Dawn Patrol from 1930, I have not seen.  This remake comes from just eight years later with a shift in casting as Elynn, Niven and Rathbone step in front of the lens.

The Dawn Patrol has curious timing - released in 1938 as the US was watching Germany roll over Europe.  It's an anti-war film, and I found the Wikipedia entry on the film a bit odd, shrugging it's shoulders and saying they were romanticizing combat aviation because of high numbers of deaths, etc... that were part of the genre but gave it kudos for showing the scars of the commanders sending out the untrained pilots.

Friday, June 28, 2019

WWII Watch: Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)



Watched:  06/25/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's

A fascinating oddball of a movie - part epic, part recreation, part disaster film, part meditation on the futility of war, Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) is an all-star retelling the of the real life events leading up to, and a recreation of, the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Originally this was supposed to be two separate movies, one Japanese and one American.  And it almost is - the Japanese parts were directed by Japanese directors (Kurosawa was notoriously fired off the film!), and the American parts: an American director.  I can only wonder how that would have worked in practice, perhaps better.  Both sections reflect the mistakes made along the way - failure of diplomacy, duplicitous use of diplomatic formalities, bureaucratic loggerheads, etc...  Each section reflects back the stance of the home country on what happened at Pearl Harbor in tone and approach, which can make for something of a split-personality to the film that doesn't always work, but probably informs the viewer in 2019 what was felt a generation after the war.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Felix Baumgartner Space Jumps into the History Books

I had tried to watch this guy, Felix Baumgartner, jump several times, and he kept getting delayed.  So I was quite pleased when PalMatt posted to Facebook that Felix was about to jump yesterday.  I tuned in just as he was about to exit the capsule.

Holy @#$%

In case you missed it, Austrian Felix Baumgartner attached a capsule to some balloons, went up 24 miles above Roswell, New Mexico, and then tossed himself out and over the side of the capsule with naught but a parachute between himself and the record for largest crater formed by a human body.

It was AMAZING.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Test Pilot (1938)

This was a pretty great movie.

Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy star in Test Pilot (1938), a movie that sets the tone for a lot of future films, right up to and including one of my favorite movies of all time, The Right Stuff.*  Gable plays the titular test pilot, Jim Lane, in the post-barn-storming days as aviation was really hitting its stride and the technology and engineering in airplanes was revving up for the incredible feats of technology that came with WWII.  Tracy plays his side-kick/ mechanic/ nanny who is all too keenly aware of the endgame that comes with taking a job that's all about going out and cheating death.

Clark Gable will haunt your dreams...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Eddie Rickenbacker

No, he did not invent popcorn.  He has nothing to do with popcorn.

Eddie Rickenbacker was the leading WWI Ace of the United States Army Air Force.  In the deadly skies over Europe, in first a Nieuport 28 and then a Spad XIII, Rickenbacker has 27 confirmed air victories on record and flew more than 300 hours, the most of any American during the war.



A stunning feat, and certainly laurels enough upon which one could rest.  But after WWI, Rickenbacker first promoted Liberty Bonds, then started his own automobile company (that didn't make it), but went on to get involved with Eastern Air Transport and then Eastern Airlines, which he ran successfully during the golden age of air transport.

He would be 122 today.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Today is the Birthday of World War II Ace Major Richard Bong

Today, Richard Bong would have been 92 years old.

Richard Bong does not have time for your awards.  He has planes to shoot down.

World War II was an odd time for air combat.  The mechanized age had come into full swing, and the planes were far superior to the bi-winged aircraft of WWI.  Today's pilots are sitting behind 10's of millions of dollars in equipment and tend to get recruited from top universities.  During World War II, some airplanes were being assembled out of boxes on the tarmac and flown by anyone with stones enough to get behind the stick.

Richard Bong was one of nine children from a small town in Wisconsin.  He was attending a teacher's college when, in 1938, he signed up for the Civilian Pilot Training program (that's age 18) where he trained under Barry Goldwater of all people.