A german security officer finds a bomb on the zeppelin as it prepares to dock at lakehurst n.J. on may 6 1937. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 04/12/2005 Starring: George C. Scott William Atherton Run time: ... more »125 minutes Rating: Pg Director: Robert Wise« less
Good attempt to dramatize the Hindenburg disaster...
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 11/06/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Hindenburg" is a pretty good film that unfortunately falls a bit flat. The concept, sets, effects, and the cast are all excellent, but there just seems to be some element missing. The cast is populated with famous faces from yesterday, a standard practice in all 70's disaster movies. Here we have the incomparable Gig Young, Burgess Meredith, Charles Durning, Richard A. Dysart, Robert Clary (late from "Hogan's Heroes" at this point), future Star Trek actor Rene Auberjonois, and Roy Thinnes. And of course, we have Anne Bancroft and George C. Scott. Scott and Thinnes really do their best, too (look at their confrontation scene when Thinnes' character mentions Scott's dead son!).Still, the cast just seems to be shuffling through this one, with little or no true tension generated, other than an emergency repair by some crewmen who must venture out onto the hull of the ship (an act that was accomplished, but never happened on Hindenburg's last trip).The end result is somewhat sparse, even strangely emotionless for the most part. Despite the overall blandness in tone, the film is compelling to watch anyway (thanks in large part to the cast and the effects).Knowing as we do what will eventually happen at Lakehurst, one cannot help but marvel at the ironic line the Hindenburg's Captain Proust utters several times throughout the course of film. In regards to the United States' bad luck with dirigibles he remarks, "It's no wonder they lose all their airships."The ending of the film seems to mystify some viewers today, but it is, in reality, an incredibly artistic, stylish (and daring), choice on the part of director Robert Wise and the producers. Capturing the action in black and white, with actual newsreel footage of the disaster added, and freezing images in place, Wise makes a stunning montage of the disaster and of the cast members as they flee the impending peril. Even though the end result is only partially effective, the montage makes an artistic statement nevertheless, the kind that Hollywood avoids today. With noisy garbage like "XXX" and "Ace Ventura" littering our cineplexes, it's nice to know that at one time in the recent past, there was room in Hollywood for some creative and bold artistry in films! Would that it could become fashionable again!An interesting side note here is the night time launch of the Hindenburg. The ship is lit with searchlights that create odd, circular patches of light on the airship's hull. Five years later, Wise directed the critically panned "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". In that film, the Starship Enterprise is lit in a similar fashion, with spotlights on the ship's various insignia that create pools of light from odd angles."
A lost classic is found
C. Chow | Leesburg VA | 06/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I never even heard of this movie until I saw it on AMC. What a film....First of all the movie is not about the Hindenburg disaster. Unlike 'Titanic' it's not about the crash.'Hindenburg' is a suspense mystery. Germany learns the Hindenburg will be destroyed before it reaches New Jersy. But instead of canceling the flight, they send it George C. Scott as a spy to find the bomber on board. 'Hindenburg' gives us many interesting suspects.I can see why it won for best FX. Back when they used models and super imposing before this computer animation crap. Suprisingly after 2 hours of great FX, they cheap out at the end and go to black and white so they can splice in that famous footage of the crash. Cheesy, bust as I said the movie isn't about the crash.It's also interesting to see how we were once on good terms with the Nazis. Yeah we even had the Olympics there.If you want a great suspense film with great production quality, this is it. Look else where for big explosions."
The DVD transfer
Allen Eaton | Longmont, CO USA | 09/27/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Amazon.com often asks reviewers to talk about the DVD, itself, rather than about story-line or acting. Ok. I have had experience in the studio system supervising the transfer of films to tape. Some studios have established a good reputation for their quality transfers, while others simply "dump" product on the market, a practice well known in the VHS format. Universal (THE HINDENBURG) is one of the "guality" studios. That's why I was surprised, and deeply disappointed in this DVD. The opening title sequence is a lovely shot of the Hindenburg flying through the clouds. The film element is loaded with huge scratches and much negative dirt; hardly a "quality" picture element. Throughout, the picture is often grainy, and negative scratches abound. The soundtrack is also very thin, presenting a tin-like quality; again, hardly the rich soundtracks that Universal is known for. I belong to NETFLIX and use the service to preview those films I might want to own later. Unfortunately, due to the poor quality of the transfer, this is one DVD I will pass on owning."
Gripping Final Moments
James L. | 10/19/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This fictionalized account of the real life disaster takes a while to get going, but does deliver some good scenes in the final third of the film. George C. Scott is a Nazi colonel sent aboard the Hindenburg due to threats made about its voyage. He is joined by a cast of familiar actors, including Anne Bancroft as a bitter German countess. As was typical with disaster films of the Seventies, there are several small stories involving the various passengers, but none of them are particularly interesting. I found the set up scenes for the bombing plotline confusing to follow. The film's strength is the terrific set pieces for the Hindenburg and its final thirty minutes. The actual explosion doesn't feature the level of special effects we're used to seeing, but since it combines real footage of the disaster, it made a strong impact on me. By no means a great film, The Hindenburg is salvaged by its final moments and by the audience's knowledge that it really did happen, although perhaps not for the reasons presented in the movie."
An interesting conspiracy thriller in a disastrous DVD trans
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 03/04/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"No film that Pauline Kael despised on principle (in this case the principle that it was directed by Robert Wise) can be all bad, and so it proves with The Hindenburg, which falls somewhere between a countdown-to-catastrophe period political thriller a la Tora! Tora! Tora!, 70s conspiracy movie and by-the-numbers disaster movie. It's as a disaster movie that it fails the most: the destruction of the Hindenburg was simply too quick to make for much of a climax, and playing the famous black and white newsreel footage intercut with unimpressive cutaways to the less than stellar cast at the end feels like a real cheat, especially since it's often clumsily handled. On the plus side it offers a clever screen story from legendary Monday Mystery Movie TV scribes William Levinson and Richard Link that sees George C. Scott's reluctant Luftwaffe Colonel sent by Goebbels on the airship's last voyage to uncover a plot to destroy the ship and thus embarrass the Nazi regime that uses it for their own propaganda. While the real investigations in Germany and America give the film some momentum, unfortunately the search for suspects among this particular sedately paced Airship of Fools is less than urgent: indeed, it's pretty obvious who is behind the plot and how Scott will react when he uncovers him.
That the supporting cast is more solid than glittering doesn't help: Anne Bancroft's aristocratic old flame has little to do but bemoan the way the Nazis have taken over her estate, cheat at cards and smoke the kind of cigarettes you don't get over the counter, but still manages to make more of her part than the script does; Roy Thinnes does well as the Gestapo man hitting on a young Jewish passenger because "I'm anxious to try one before they run out"; Richard Dysart does the good German wondering what's happening to his country routine as one of the owners (who historically was more than happy to cosy up to the Nazis if it was good for business); Charles Durning keeps the glowering to a minimum as the pro-Nazi captain; Gig Young is clearly drunk in a couple of scenes (yes, I know he's playing a drunk, but he slurs even when he's supposed to be sober half the time); while star-that-never-was William Atherton lurks in the rigging moodily before saving the ship from the danger that his own incompetence puts it in the first place. Shame they couldn't have afforded a couple of British actors for Burgess Meredith and Rene Auberjonois' parts. However, it does boast one of Scott's more natural and likeably underplayed performances before his penchant for drunken Long John Silver impersonations took over, managing to keep it all together until things go bang. The production design is excellent, Albert Whitlock's special effects, while dated, are often impressive and there's a lovely score by David Shire that's recently been released as an extremely limited edition CD. And it's hard to write off a film entirely that has one nervous passenger suggest "Next time, let's take the Titanic."
Sadly, Universal's DVD is an appalling transfer: it may be in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, but it looks like a public domain videocassette, with ghosting, edge enhancement problems and serious problems dealing with the airship's struts. It's watchable, but added to the lack of extras (aside from some production notes), it makes this one a reluctant purchase for the film's more ardent fans only until it gets remastered. Alternately, you might seek out Anchor Bay's UK Region 2 PAL DVD, which boasts a much better 2.35:1 widescreen transfer with a fine stereo soundtrack (though no extras). "