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Aviation Films - B

B-17: Flying Legend - (PBS tv documentary series 2004, 60m episodes (210m on DVD)).


Back from Eternity - (RKO 1956, 97m) D: John Farrow. Anita Ekberg = Rena, Robert Ryan = Bill, Rod Steiger = Vasquez. Airliner jungle crash survivors. Little flying footage. Unimpressive remake of Farrow's Five Came Back (1939).
Ballonatic, The - (Keaton Productions 1923, 22m, silent) D: Buster Keaton. Phyllis Haver, Buster Keaton. The pair endure outdoor adventures trying to prove their survival skills to each other. A balloon that lands Buster in the wilderness proves useful later on as their canoe is about go over a waterfall.
Bamboo Blonde, The - (RKO 1946, 67m) D: Anthony Mann. Ralph Edwards =Eddie Clark, Frances Langford = Louise Anderson, Russell Wade = Patrick Ransom Jr. Odd mix of wartime propaganda and musical romantic comedy. AAF combat footage plus some ground shots of B-29s.
Battle Eagles - (Czechoslovakia-Yugoslavia; 19??) WW2 Chetnik "squadron" fighting the Luftwaffe. Incredibly ludicrous story with much model work, but some good aerial footage inserts.
Battle Hymn - (Universal 1957, 108m) D: Douglas Sirk. Don DeFore = Capt Skidmore, Dan Duryea = Sgt Herman, Rock Hudson = Col Dean Hess, Martha Hyer = Mary Hess, Anna Kashfi = En Soo Yang. Bio of Korean War fighter ace Dean Hess. Aerials by Ken Slater.

AIRCRAFT: P-51.
Battle of Britain - (documentary, Warner Bros 1943, 54m) D: Frank Capra. Narrator: Walter Houston. Part of the "Why We Fight" wartime series. Excellent news footage.
Battle of Britain SEE ALSO Finest Hour.

Battle of Britain, The - (United Artists 1969, 133m) D: Guy Hamilton. Michael Caine = Canfield, Trevor Howard = Park, Curt Jurgens = von Richter, Kenneth More = Baker, Laurence Olivier = Dowding, Ralph Richardson = Sir David, Robert Shaw = Skipper, Susannah York = Maggie Harvey. Screenplay: Wilfred Greatorex, James Kennaway. In 1940, the RAF fights a desperate battle against the German Air Force for control of British air space to prevent a Nazi invasion of Britain. Excellent, mostly authentic aerial footage. Technical advisor: Adolf Galland, ex-Luftwaffe pilot, Battle of Britain veteran and later General at age 29— he was the actual one who, when asked by Air Marshal Göring what was needed to win the battle, replied, "A squadron of Spitfires."

AIRCRAFT: Total flying aircraft, excluding mock-ups and statics: 3 Hurricanes, 12 Spitfires and, from the Spanish AF were the 17 Me.109Gs (Hispano 1112), 32 He.111H (CASA 2111) target tugs, and 2 Ju.52 (CASA 352) transports. Ju.87 Stuka dive-bombers were models; non-flying Hurricane replicas used lawn mower engines to taxi around.
Battleground: Wings Over Europe - (PBS tv documentary series 1990, 60m episodes (223m on DVD)) WW2 footage.
Battle of the Blimps - (tv documentary; PBS/BBC 1986, 60m)
Battle Stations - (Columbia 1956 81m) D: Lewis Seiler. William Bendix = Buck Fitzpatrick, Richard Boone = Capt Tom Matthews, John Lund = Father Joe McIntyre. Screenplay: Crane Wilbur from a story by Ben Finney. Filmed aboard USS Franklin(CV-13) plus USN combat footage.

AIRCRAFT: F4U, TBM.
Battle Taxi - (United Artists/Ivan Tors 1955, 82m) D: Herbert L Strock. Arthur Franz = Lt Peter Stacy, Sterling Hayden = Capt Russ Edwards, Marshall Thompson = Lt Tim Vernon. Screenplay: Art Arthur. In the Korean war, the commander of an Air Rescue helicopter team must show a hot-shot former jet pilot how important helicopter rescue work is and turn him into a team player.
Berlin Via America - (Fordart 1918, silent) D: Francis Ford. Edna Emerson = Rose Lockely, Francis Ford = Phil Kelly, Jack Newton = Col Lockely. Secret Service agent sneaks into Germany and ends up in von Richthofen's squadron.
Besatzung Dora - (German "The Dora Crew"; 1943).
Best Years of Our Lives, The - (Goldwyn 1943, 172m) An excellent drama, and while not an aviation film in subject it contains some memorable flying footage at the start, filmed at the old Cal-Aero Field in Chino CA. Paul Mantz: aerial director (uncredited).
Big Drive, The - (documentary; First Division 1933).
Big Hop, The - (Condor (Buck Jones) 1928, silent) D: James M Horne. Buck Jones = Buck Bronson, Jobyna Ralston = June Hollowway. A poor cowboy wins a girl's hand when he participates in a flight from the USA to Hawaii. Aerials by Garland Lincoln and, reportedly, Buck Jones, who was a licensed pilot.
Big Lift, The - (Fox 1950, 120m) D: George Seaton. Cornell Borchers = Frederic Burkhardt, Montgomery Clift = Danny MacCullough, Paul Douglas = Hank Kowalski; many USAF personnel playing themselves. Screenplay: Seaton. Experiences of two Air Force sergeants during the 1948 Berlin Airlift.

AIRCRAFT: C-47, C-54.
Birds of Prey - (Columbia 1927, 56m, silent) D: William J Craft. Hugh Allan = Hamilton Smith, Priscilla Dean = Helen Wayne, Gustav von Seyffertitz= Foxy. Screenplay = Dorothy Howell. Crime drama with some flying scenes.
Birds of Prey - (CBS Television 1973, 90m) D: William A Graham. Elayne Heilveil = Teresa Jane, David Janssen = Harry Walker, Harry Klekas = Capt Slater, Ralph Meeker = Jim McAndrew. Screenplay: Robert Boris, Rupert Hitzig. Walker works for a radio station as a traffic helicopter pilot who spots a bank robbery taking place and pursues the culprits. Excellent flying scenes. Aerials by James Gavin.
Black Sheep Squadron - (tv series; Universal Tv 1976, 60m episodes) D: Alex Beaton, Robert Conrad, et al. Dirk Blocker = Lt Jerry Bragg, Robert Conrad = Greg Boyington, Dana Elcar = Col Lard, John Larroquette = Lt Bob Anderson, Simon Oakland = Genl Moore, James Whitmore Jr = Capt Gutterman. While not the most historically accurate, best written, nor best acted WW2 series on tv, it was an entertaining hour with a likeable cast and easy-to-take characters. Good aerial footage. Filmed at Simi Valley CA. Aired 1976-77. Also as Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.

AIRCRAFT: F4U; AT-6 as Japs.
Blaze of Noon - (Paramount 1947, 91m) D: John Farrow. Anne Baxter = Lucille Stewart, William Bendix = Porkie Scott, Howard DaSilva = Mike Gafferty, Sterling Hayden = Tad McDonald, William Holden = Colin McDonald, Sonny Tufts = Roland McDonald. Screenplay: Frank Wead, Arthur Sheekman, based on a novel by Ernest K Gann. In the 1920s, the four McDonald brothers leave the uncertain life of carnival stunt fliers for steady jobs with the Air Mail. Good flying action. Aerials by Paul Mantz.

AIRCRAFT: Pitcairn Mailwing.
Blimps Are Back, The - (tv documentary; PBS Nova 19??, 60m).
Blue Angels, The - (tv series; California Natl Productions 1960-61, 39 episodes @ 30m each) D: Sam Gallu. Dennis Cross = Cdr Arthur Richards, Don Gordon = Lt Hank Bertelli, Morgan Jones = Cdr Donovan, Mike Galloway = Lt Russ MacDonald, Warner Jones = Capt Wilber Scott.

Blue Max, The - (Fox 1966, 156m) D: John Guillermin. Ursula Andress = Countess Kaeti von Klugermann, Jeremy Kemp = Willi von Klugermann, James Mason = Count von Klugermann, George Peppard = Bruno Stachel, Carl Schell = Manfred von Richthofen. Screenplay: David Pursall, Jack Sedon from a story by Jack Hunter. Excellent aerial footage compensates for weak storyline. Filmed in Ireland.

AIRCRAFT: Replica Pfalz D.3, Fokker D.7, Fokker Dr.1, modified DH Tiger Moth as SE5a.
    Trivia: (1) Willi is killed when he accidentally flies into what appears to be a ruined church tower. In the next scene, Stachel tells Heidemann, "He hit the trees." (2) German WW1 single-seat fighter aircraft did not carry bombs. (3) Pilots shown firing machine guns by reaching out and pulling back triggers on the guns themselves (in at least one scene, a pilot is shown with both hands on the guns, which means his airplane was on auto-pilot). Guns were fired by levers located on the joystick so pilots could fly and fire simultaneously. (3) When Stachel climbs into the motorcycle sidecar in pouring rain, blue sky and sun is shining on a hillside in the background.
Blue Thunder - (Columbia 1983, 108m) D: John Badham. Candy Clark = Kate, Malcolm McDowell = Col F E Cochran, Warren Oates = Braddock, Roy Scheider = Frank Murphy, Daniel Stern = Lymangood. Screenplay: Don Jakoby, Dan O'Bannon, Dean Riesner. Cop tests an experimental new helicopter (actually Aerospatiale SA-341 [N77GH]).
    Trivia: (1) In the dogfight with Cochran, Murphy's Gatling cannon fires, but does not rotate. (2) LAPD police car markings, badges, and shoulder patches are incorrect.
Blue Thunder - (tv series; Columbia Television 1984, 11 30m episodes) D: Earl Bellamy, Phil Bondelli. Dick Butkus = "Ski" Butowski, Dana Carvey = "Jafo" Wonderlove, James Farentino = Frank Chaney, Sandy McPeak = Captain Braddock, Bubba Smith = "Bubba" Kelsey. An advanced prototype police helicopter and their ground-support crew battle crime, a weak spin-off from film of same name. Flight sequences by Steve Hinton.
Blue Yonder, The - (Disney 1985, 105m) D: Mark Rosman. Art Carney = Henry Coogan, Peter Coyote = Max Knickerbocker, Huckleberry Fox = Jonathan Knicks, Dennis Lipscomb = Finch, Mittie Smith = Helen Knickerbocker. Screenplay: Rosman. Aviator Max is unaware that Jonathan is his grandson and an adventurous time-traveler thanks to a machine built by his neighbor, Coogan. Can Jonathan save his grandfather from a fatal solo flight across the Atlantic and alter the course of history? FIlmed in and around Sonoma County CA. Aerials by Art Scholl. Also seen on tv as Time Flyer.
Body and Soul - (Fox 1931, 70m) D: Alfred Santell. Humphrey Bogart = Jim Watson, Donald Dillaway = Tap Johnson, Charles Farrell = Mal Andrews, Myrna Loy = Alice Lester, Elissa Landi = Carla. Screenplay: Jules Furthman from a story by Elliott White Springs. Andrews, Watson, and Johnson are with a RAF squadron in France. When Watson is killed in combat, Andrews tries to return the letters Watson received from a girl called "Pom-Pom." There are two possibilities: one is Watson's widow, the other is a German spy. Minor flying scenes.
Bombardier - (RKO 1943, 99m) D: Richard Wallace. Eddie Albert = Tom Hughes, Barton McLain = Sgt Archie Dixon, Pat O'Brien = Maj Chick Davis, Walter Reed = Jim Carter, Robert Ryan = Joe Connors, Randolph Scott = Capt Buck Oliver, Anne Shirley = Burton Hughes. Screenplay: John Twist. AFB shown as "Hughes Field, Almansor NM," but actually filmed at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque.

AIRCRAFT: B-17E/F, B-18, AT-16.
    The character "Chito Rafferty" appears in no less than 32 other films, mostly westerns, all played by Richard Martin. Talk about being type-cast!
Bomber's Moon - (Fox 1943, 67m) D: Charles Fuhr—an alias shared by Edward Lustig and Harold Schuster. Annabella = Alexandra Zoreisch, Robert Barrat = Ernst, George Montgomery = Capt Jeff Dakin, Martin Kosleck = Maj von Streicher, Kent Taylor = Capt Paul von Block/Paul Husnik. Convoluted plot about a downed American pilot captured by Germans. He escapes from prison during an air raid and works his way across enemy territory to a somewhat improbable, but entertaining, conclusion.
Bombers B-52 - (Warner Bros 1957, 106m) D: Gordon Douglas. Marsha Hunt = Edith Brennan, Dean Jagger = ?, Karl Malden = Sgt Chuck Brennan, Natalie Wood = Lois Brennan, Efrem Zimbalist Jr = Col Jim Herlihy. Screenplay: Irving Wallace, from a novel by Sam Rolfe. Impressive wide-screen, close-up shots of the big birds are backgrounds for a standard love plot.

AIRCRAFT: B-47, B-52.
    Trivia: (1) The B-52 in the taxiing scenes has a red nose with worn paint, but in flying scenes has a black nose panel. (2) The tanker taking-off to refuel the B-47 is a propeller aircraft, but in flight it is a jet.
Border Flight - (Paramount 1936, 68m) D: Otho Lovering. Robert Cummings = Lt Bob Dixon, Frances Farmer = Ann Blaine, John Howard = Lt Dan Conlon, Roscoe Karns = Calico Smith. Coast Guard versus smugglers in a B-film that has some fairly good flying action.
Born To Love - (RKO-Pathé 1931, 84m) D: Paul Stein. Constance Bennett = Doris Kendall, Joel McCrea = Barry Craig. Screenplay: Ernest Pascal. Minor flying action with McCrea as a fighter pilot shot down over Germany.
Breaking the Sound Barrier - (Great Britain; London Films 1952, 109m) D: David Lean. Denholm Elliott = Chris Ridgefield, Nigel Patrick = Tony Garthwaite, Ralph Richardson = John Ridgefield, Ann Todd = Susan Garthwaite. Screenplay: Terence Rattigan. Crusty England at its stiff-upper-lip best in a story of man's obsession with speed, and a ruthless planemaker's ambition to succeed in building a supersonic jet. Richardson is the tycoon whose dream kills his son and son-in-law. (GB title: The Sound Barrier, 118m).

AIRCRAFT: Comet, Hunter, Supermarine Swift.
Bride Came C.O.D., The - (Warner Bros 1941, 90m) D: William Keighley. James Cagney = Steve Collins, Jack Carson = Allen Brice, Bette Davis = Joan Winfield, Stuart Erwin = Tommy Keenan, Eugene Pallette = Lucius Winfield. Aerials by Paul Mantz in a tale patterned after his own "Honeymoon Express" charter service.

AIRCRAFT: Bellanca Pacemaker, Beechcraft D-17.
Bridges at Toko-Ri - (Paramount 1954, 103m) D: Mark Robson. William Holden = Lt Harry Brubaker, Grace Kelly = Nancy Brubaker, Frederick March = RAdm George Tarrant, Mickey Rooney = Mike Forney, Robert Strauss = Beer Barrel. Screenplay: Valentine Davis from a story by James Michener.

AIRCRAFT: Grumman F9F, Sikorsky HO3-S.
Brink of Hell SEE Toward the Unknown.
Broadway Babs - (Fox c.1920, silent) Helen Holmes, Ruth Roland. Aerials by B H DeLay. Despite intensive search, no data could be found. Possibly unreleased or maybe was a short subject?
Broken Wing, The - (Paramount-Schulberg 1923, 60m, silent) D: Tom Forman. Miriam Cooper = Inez Villera, Ken Harlan = Phil Marvin, Walter Long = Capt Dos Santos, Richard Tucker = Sylvester Cross. Comedy based on a stage play was filmed at DeMille Field, LA. First use of remote-controlled camera in planes (Harry Perry invention).

AIRCRAFT: Curtiss JN-4.
Burning Sky, The - (Japan 1941).
Bush Pilot - (Canada; Screen Guild 1947, 65m) D: Sterling Campbell. Rochelle Hudson = Hillary Wood, Jack LaRue = Paul Gerard, Frank Perry, Austin Willis = Red North. Screenplay: Scott Darling. North is getting by as a reliable small-time bush pilot in Canada's north, but his vindicative half-brother decides to relocate his bush pilot business to the same lake, cutting into Red's routes. Filmed in 1941, DVD release is 59m.

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