Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lost Zeppelin (1929)

This weekend I'm reviewing two films which were made 3 years apart and which are more or less the exact same movie. Of course no one is going to suggest that the two films are original and remake, especially since tomorrows film was made by Frank Capra, but if you take the time to see the two films you're going to find that the films are the same.

Dated adventure film about an attempt to be the first to fly a zeppelin over the South Pole.

The film is essentially two movies.

The first is a long drawn out sequence at the start showing how the wife of the head of the expedition is in love with the second in command. This runs for about 25 minutes as they dress go to a send off party and then have guilt over the whole thing. Despite some good dialog this part of the movie is deadly dull.

The rest of the film concerns the expedition and is much more interesting. Here we follow the flight as we see the airship fly to toward the Pole and eventually run into trouble (this isn't giving anything away because one need only look at the title to see what happens). This part of the film has some fantastic effects work with the shots of the zeppelin in flight and the Antarctic landscape with all its dangers over powering any feelings that this film is anything less than spectacular. What we see on screen is truly amazing since it was done with out computers and comes across looking oh so more real for it. The film's flaws are for the most part limited to the fact that this film was made in the early days of sound and so we either have very talky sequences or ones that are very quiet.

If you want to see some stunning effects in a good adventure you might want to try this, though you'll want to fast forward through the first 25 minutes since they really can be dull. (This would make a good double feature with the Red Tent the true story of similar attempt to fly an airship over the North Pole a few years before this was made, and which was probably the inspiration for this film)

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