Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dirigible (1931)

Very similar to a film called the Lost Zeppelin (to the point its almost a remake) that was released two years earlier this is a story of an attempt to reach the South Pole via dirigible.

The story begins when the US Navy tries to get into the good graces of a polar explorer who is planning yet another trip to the pole. The navy enlists Jack Holt, a dirigible pilot, to impress the explorer in the hopes of his considering using one of their ships to make the trip. Holt seals the deal when he agrees to bring along a plane which can hook and unhook from the airship. The trip goes badly and ends in disaster. However it sets the stage for a later expedition and a shot at redemption.

Spectacular large scale production this is a grand adventure, if some what slow moving tale, of pushing the envelope in the name of adventure and science. Filmed with the cooperation of the navy this film has some absolutely stunning images of planes and airships in flight. The sets are truly amazing and it's not really clear as to what's real and what's not. The look of the film will blow your mind.

What is less thrilling is the soap opera between the airplane pilot and his wife, played by Fay Wray. Wray is very good as the wife who loves her husband but can't stand all of his macho antics. The scenes between the husband and the wife, and even Holt and Wray, Holt is the husbands best friend, are pure soap opera (well acted but still soap opera). I'm sure the reason the romantic scenes were inserted for the women in the audience, but the scenes kind of stop the film and diminish the rest, making the film seem much longer than its 100 minute running time.

Still the film really is worth seeing. It's a grand spectacle and adventure that they don't make any more. It will knock your socks off.

As to similarities with the Lost Zeppelin, you have the same goal, the clash of friends, the wife of one of the men being unhappy in her marriage, a crash needing rescue and a few similar points. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Dirigible steals from Lost Zeppelin, so much as remakes it with a few significant changes.

1 comment:

  1. This movie is out there I found a bunch of sites that actually sell this dvd.