Friday, 2 October 2009


Having only seen Martin Scorsese's THE AVIATOR a short while ago I was intrigued to see the film that Howard Hughes is making during the early part of that film. Reading comments on Imdb there seems to be a sharp division between those who feel the acting scenes are so dated that they ruin the film completely and those like myself who are a bit more tolerant of a film made way back in 1930. Yes, it is dated but I really didn't feel that the performances by the three stars - Jean Harlow, Ben Lyon and James Hill were noticeably worse than in many other films from the period. I was particularly fascinated to see Ben Lyon who for many years was a star on British Television with his wife Bebe Daniels in the series LIFE WITH THE LYONS. The story is slight and tells of two brothers, one heroic and honourable and one decidedly less so, who both fall for the same girl and who join the Royal Flying Corps at the outbreak of World War One. It's all a bit cliched now (probably wasn't in 1930) but I never found it boring. Of course it is the truly spectacular aerial combat scenes that really make the film. The dogfights are a very impressive example of amazing stunt flying and masterful editing while the earlier scenes of a Zeppelin raid on London are superbly staged model work. The shot of the huge airship emerging silently from the night time clouds is not one to forget easily. Howard Hughes is credited as the director but other scenes were directed by both James Whale and Edmund Goulding. As a piece of film history it is a must. The print available on DVD at the moment has been restored at UCLA Film Dept. Rating ****

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

Wait a minute! I seed that one!!!

But not for a long, long time. however, I DO remember that zeppline raid on London scene after all these years so it must've been a gooden!