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IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from 434 votes
Release: 4 April 1931 (USA) /


Genre: Adventure
Director: Frank Capra,
Stars: , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: A French explorer enlists the help of the US Navy in an expedition to the South Pole. There is competition between the airship division and fixed wing fliers, resolved in triumph and disasters. Written by Michael Crew <[email protected]>

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Critic Reviews

Aside from featuring Fay Wray BEFORE she became famous in King Kong, the movie has value as historical record, because of the scenes of the U.S. Navy's dirigible, LOS ANGELES. The LOS ANGELES served a dual role in the film, first as the fictional PENSACOLA, destroyed in a storm at sea, and then as her real self. The loss of the PENSACOLA is prescient in a way, because her successors, the very real AKRON and MACON, which had yet to enter service when the movie was made, were subsequently both lost at sea in storms, bringing an end to rigid airships in the U.S. Navy. A predecessor, the SHENANDOAH was lost in 1928 in a storm over Ohio.

When this movie was made, only the LOS ANGELES was in service. The movie shows excellent closeup film of the ship mooring at Lakehurst N.J. as well as her experimental trapeze which allowed an aircraft to moor to the ship while in flight. This feature was incorporated in AKRON and MACON, along with a hanger to stow the planes aboard. These two, the biggest in USN service at 800 feet could each carry 3-4 planes. The planes could be "captured" on the trapeze, brought inside and then launched from their trapeze. An amazing sight to see!

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