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Dirigible (1931) DVD

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Product Description

Dirigible (1931)


Frank Capra    


Frank Wead (story),  Jo Swerling (adaptation)


Jack HoltRalph GravesFay Wray, Hobart Bosworth, Roscoe Karns, Harold Goodwin
A pair of US Navy pilots, Lt. Cmdr. Jack Braden (Jack Holt) and Lt. "Frisky" Pierce (Ralph Graves), have a longstanding rivalry that cuts across the professional and personal lives. In the air, Braden has set all kinds of performance and endurance records commanding dirigibles, lighter-than-air craft, extending their potential uses and missions in significant ways; meanwhile Pierce, who has a flashier personality, has grabbed the headlines with daredevil stunts that often represent less achievement than sheer recklessness on his part. And on the ground, they've long shared an attraction to Helen (Fay Wray) -- she married Frisky, but now finds she is miserably unhappy as his wife, always playing second fiddle to his stunts and the press corps following him, and constantly worrying about his safety with each new flight. Their conflict comes to a head when both men accept the challenge of reaching the South Pole -- Braden refuses to allow Pierce along, even though his airship will have a plane attached to it and a pilot aboard. His mission ends in failure when a freak storm destroys the dirigible, and Pierce leads the rescue, thus adding to his reputation as a hero and further alienating both Braden and his own wife. Now it's Pierce's turn, flying a tri-motor plane from a forward base in the Antarctic, and he just about succeeds, until his daredevil nature causes a tragedy that not only engulfs him and his crew, but threatens to destroy his wife and Braden as well. 
The production was shot during a California heat wave. To form vapor on the breath and give the impression that the pilots were in the Antarctic, the performers were given lumps of 'dry ice' (frozen carbon dioxide) in metal boxes to put in their mouths. Hobart Bosworth found the box cumbersome and simply put the ice in his mouth. He lost his tongue and most of his lower jaw. This film is loosely based on the crash of the airship Italia, flown by Umberto Nobile, around May 25, 1928 near the North Pole, and the international rescue effort that cost early Polar explorer Roald Amundson his life. The Pilot who rescued Nobile also crashed when returning to rescue more survivors and had to be rescued himself. This was the first Columbia film to open at the Grauman's Chinese theater in Hollywood, California, a sign that Columbia Pictures was becoming a major studio, mostly due to Frank CapraThe Motion Picture Herald reported that the rough cut before final editing consisted of 28 reels. 125,000 feet of film were shot at the Naval Air Base at Lakehurst, New Jersey. The estimated cost of production of $1,000,000 made it the most expensive Columbia film to that date. Originally planned by Paramount as a sensational follow-up to Wings (1927), but they couldn't get the production off the ground. The story was sold to Columbia Pictures, and its final "lighter than air" plot reached theaters in 1931.
Region 0 (ALL), will play in any DVD player, English, 100 minutes, Black and White, Columbia Pictures, very good print.

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