The Conquest of the Air


Alexander Esway
Lee Garmes
Zoltan Korda
William Cameron Menzies
John Monk Saunders
Alexander Shaw
Donald Taylor
London Films
Production Company
United Artists

A chronicle of man's attempts to fly, from prehistory on.

Very much a mess of a film, what exists is the tattered remains of a noble endeavor. Originally filmed in 1935-36, then abandoned until 1938, only to be re-shelved in 1939. Finally a sixty-minute version, padded with documentary footage and narration, was completed in time to be shown in 1940.

Only glimpses of the original grand vision can be seen, mainly in the accounts of the Wright Brothers' first flight and Bleriot's crossing of the Englsih Channel. The rest is marred by choppy editing, too much stock footage, and a very dull narrator. A real shame, as there are glimpses of something much better in between the tedium.

-Dave W.

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20th May 1940

71 mins

25th September 2006

71 mins

Frederick Culley
Roger Bacon
Franklin Dyall
Jerome de Ascoli
Alan Wheatley
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
Hay Petrie
Tiberius Cavallo
John Abbott
Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier
Laurence Olivier
Vincenzo Lunardi
Bryan Powley
Sir George Cayley
Henry Victor
Otto Lilienthal
John Turnbull
Ferdinand von Zeppelin
Charles Lefeaux
Louis Blériot
(as Charles Lefaux)
Charles Frend
Commentary Spoken By
David Horne
Unknown 22600-01
Richard Vernon
Simon the Magician
Unknown 22600-01
Roman Onlooker
Denville Bond
Oliver of Malmesbury
Carlo Ninchi
Gabriele Adanti di Perugia
[correctly Giovan Battista Danti]
Andrea Checchi
[Tommaso Masini]
Ben Webster
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonard Shepherd
Abbot Damian of Sterling
Memo Benassi
Francesco Lama di Brescia
[correctly Francesco Lana de Terzi]
Unknown 22600-01
Montgolfier Brother
Unknown 22600-01
Montgolfier Brother
Michael Rennie
Marquis d'Arlandes
Unknown 22600-01
Frightened French Peasant
Kenneth Kove
Gentleman at Lunardi's Reception
Unknown 22600-01
Gentleman at Lunardi's Reception
Henry Hallatt
Jean-Pierre Blanchard
Cameron Hall
Dr. John Jeffries
Hilary Pritchard
Cayley's Coachman
Anthony Holles
Paul Beylich, Lilienthal's Mechanic
Charles Hickman
Orville Wright
Percy Marmont
Wilbur Wright
Roy Royston
Hubert Latham
Charles Carrett
Latham's Manager
David Nicol
Alfred Leblanc
Unknown 22600-01
Jorge Chávez
Peter Madden
American Airliner Pilot
Unknown 22600-01
American Airliner Co-Pilot

Dave Wright: Screencaps & Notes

Dave Wright: 39 Caps