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Aviation Films - D

D-III.88 (Germany; Tobis Films 1939, 103m) D: Herbert Maisch. Hermann Braun = Obergefreiter Robert Eckhard, Adolf Fischer = Zeissler, Christian Kayssler = Oberleutnant Mithoff, Karl Martell = Leutnant Ludwig Becker, Heinz Welzel = Obergefreiter Fritz Paulsen, Otto Wernicke = Oberwerkmeister Bonicke. Screenplay: Hans Bertram & Wolf Neumeister. US title (1940): The New German Air Force Attacks. This depicts the daily life of a German fighter pilot just prior to WWII in a story of two friends (Braun and Welzel). During a night flight, their plane crashes and they are grounded, having disregarded military discipline. An elderly fighter pilot of WWI, who flies on an old Fokker Dr.1 triplane (registered D.III.88), persuades their wing commander to give them a second chance and entrust them with an important mission, which they carry out with success. Despite Nazi propanganda, it's a very good film about flying with exciting flying sequences and rare planes—we see the Junkers 52, usually shown as a transport, in its bomber role with the bombardier aiming from the ventral gunner position. (— Christian Santoir 5/12/04)

AIRCRAFT: Fw.56 Stösser, Dr.1, He.60, He.46, He.111A, Ju.52/3m, Ju.W34, Ju.87B Stuka.

Dakota (Netherlands; 1974, 100m) D: Wim Verstappen. Kees Brusse, Monique van de Ven. A veteran pilot flying in the Caribbean takes on a long solo flight with an old DC-3 from the Caribbean to Holland.
Dam Busters, The (Great Britain; Associated British Pic Corp 1954, USA: 102m, UK: 119m) D: Michael Anderson. Michael Redgrave = Barnes Wallis, Basil Sydney = Sir Arthur Harris, Richard Todd = Guy Gibson. Screenplay: R C Sherriff from a story by Paul Brickhill & Guy Gibson. Factual account of skip-bombing the Ruhr Valley dams at Möhn and Eder. Maltin review: "During WW2, British devise an ingenious plan to blow up Germans' Ruhr dam. Exciting and intelligent film." Aerials by RAF crews.

AIRCRAFT: Avro Lancaster, DH Mosquito.
Trivia: (1) A B-17 appears at least once in place of a Lancaster; (2) The train showing being derailed by the flood is running on the left-hand track. British trains run on the left, German ones run on the right.
Dam Busters, The (WETA/Wingnut Films tv documentary) In production 2007, based on the Paul Brickhill book and 1954 legendary epic, enhanced with computer graphics.
Dancing Vienna (Germany; 1927, silent) D: Frederic Zelnik. Alfred Abel, Olga Engel, Arnold Korff, Ben Lyon, Lya Mara. Unknown flying activity.
Danger Flight (Monogram 1939, 65m) D: Howard Bretherton. Marjorie Reynolds = Betty Lou, Jason Robards = Paul Smith, Milburn Stone = Skeeter, John Trent = 'Tailspin' Tommy Tomkins. Screenplay: Byron Morgan, based on a story by Hal Forrest. Tommy runs an aviation club for juvenile delinquents, but when one of them hooks up with the mob, it's up to Tommy to set him straight.
Danger Flight (Germany; 1956) Dieter Borsche, Dany Robin. No data.
Dangerous Moonlight (Great Britain; RKO 1941, 83m) D: Brian Desmond Hurst. Derrick de Marney = Mike Caroll, Sally Gray = Carole Peters, Cecil Parker = specialist, Anton Wallbrook = Stefan Radetzky. Screenplay: Terence Young. Polish musician and pilot tours to raise money for war effort, ends up in RAF. Minor flying at end, in which a squadron of German bombers is shown flying upside-down! GB title: Suicide Squadron. Michael Rennie in a small role."

AIRCRAFT: Spitfire.
Danger Patrol (RKO 1937, 59m) D: Lew Landers. John Beal = Dan Loring, Harry Carey (Sr) = "Easy" Street, Sally Eilers = Cathy Street, Edward Gargan = Gabby Donovan, Paul Guilfoyle = Tim. Screenplay: Sy Bartlett.
Daredevils of the Clouds (Republic 1948, 60m) D: George Blair. Mae Clarke = Kay Cameron, Jimmy Dodd = Eddie Clark, Robert Livingston = Terry O'Rourke, Grant Withers = Matt Conroy. Screenplay: Norman S Hall.
Daring Deeds (Rayart 1927, silent) D: Duke Worne. Thomas Lingham = William Gordon Sr, Molly Malone = Helen Courtney, Billy Sullivan = William Gordon Jr. Screenplay: George W Pyper.
Dark Blue World SEE Tmavomodrý svet.
Darling Lili (Paramount 1970, 136m (c.1990 114m)) D: Blake Edwards. Julie Andrews = Lili Smith, Rock Hudson = Maj William Larrabee, Jeremy Kemp = Kurt von Ruger, Jacques Marin = Maj BuVall, Lance Percival = T C. Screenplay: William P Blatty, Blake Edwards. Maltin review: "Critically lambasted when first released, this entertaining spoof has Andrews and Hudson at their best, along with Edwards, keeping tongue-in-cheek, but not becoming coy in telling the story of German spy Julie posing as London entertainer during WW1, falling in love with squadron commander Hudson. Great fun, good music. Two decades after the fact, Edwards prepared an alternative director's cut of the film, more serious in tone, for cable tv; it runs 114m." Minor WW1 flying scenes, outtakes.
Dash Through the Clouds, A (Biograph 1912, 12m (at 16 fps), silent) D: Mack Sennett. Sylvia Ashton, William J Butler, Edward Dillon, Mabel Normand. Screenplay: Dell Henderson. This comedy was likely the first major film to use an airplane in the plot.

AIRCRAFT: Wright Model B.
Dawn Flight (1975, 29m) D: Brian Lansburgh. Excellent short about soaring gained an Oscar nomination for Best Live-Action Short Film for 1976. Sole cast credit to Denis Arndt, who learned to fly sailplanes for his role in the film.
Dawn Patrol, The (First National 1930, 105m (some issues at 95m)) D: Howard Hawks. Richard Barthelmess = Capt Dick Courtney, Edmund Breon = Lt Phipps, Douglas Fairbanks Jr = Lt Doug Scott, Jimmy Finlayson = Field Sgt "Mac", Neil Hamilton = Maj Drake Brand, William Janney = Lt Donnie Scott (but shown in the cast index as "Gordon"). Screenplay: Howard Hawks & Seton I Miller, from a story by John Monk Saunders. AA for Best Writing (Saunders) 1932. Maltin review: "Saunders' Oscar-winning story of a beleaguered aerial squadron in WW1 France. Devotees of director Hawks prefer this to 1938 remake, but it doesn't hold up as well, particularly the stiff, overdrawn performances." Tv title: Flight Commander. Aerials by Rupert McAllister, Leo Nomis, Frank Tomick, Roy Wilson, others. Remade in 1938. Read a personal review of both Dawn Patrols.

AIRCRAFT: Garland Lincoln LF-1, Nieuport 28, Pfalz D-12, Standard-Sloan H-1, Standard J-1, Thomas-Morse SC3, Travel Air 4000 as "Fokkers," Waterman-Boeing C.

Dawn Patrol, The (Warner Bros 1938, 103m) D: Edmund Goulding. Donald Crisp = Lt Phipps, Melville Cooper = Sgt Watkins, Carl Esmond = von Mueller, Barry Fitzgerald = Sgt Bott, Errol Flynn = Capt Dick Courtney, Morton Lowry = Lt Donnie Scott, David Niven = Lt Doug Scott, Basil Rathbone = Maj Drake Brand, Norman Willis = von Richter (uncredited from 1930 film). Screenplay: Seton I Miller, from a story by John Monk Saunders. Aerial sequences director: Leo Nomis. Excellent remake of 1930 film, AeroFiles' nomination for the best WW1 film ever. Maltin review: "Remake of 1930 classic is fine actioner of WW1 flyers in France; Rathbone as stern officer forced to send up green recruits, Flynn and Niven as pilot buddies, all excellent. Insightful study of wartime camaraderie and grueling pressures of battlefront command." Read a personal review of both Dawn Patrols

AIRCRAFT: Mostly as 1930 film.

Trivia: (1) In frontal close-ups of Flynn in his cockpit sequences, there is little or no rudder movement during violent combat—this goof is common to most flying movies, as are the precision rows of bullet holes entering from the sides when an enemy ship fires from behind; (2) In the attack on the German airfield, one bomb explodes prematurely, before its plane gets there—in flying through the smoke, Leo Nomis was almost knocked out of the air by the dirt and debris thrown up; (3) In the same attack the (German) J-1 taking-off suddenly changes into the Waterman when it crashes; (4) When rescued after being shot down, Flynn jumps on Nivens' right wing, but appears on the left wing in flight shots; (5) In both Flynn's and Nivens' crash-landings the planes change into Tommy-Morses.
Dead Aviators (Canada; Atlas 1999, 94m) D: David Wellington. Lothaire Bluteau = Charles Nungesser, Marsha Mason = Lydia, Michel Monty = Francois Coli, Juliana Wimbles = Katie. Screenplay: Semi Chellas. Fantasy, based on a true event and shown on tv Showtime as Restless Spirits, about two aviators flying from France to Newfoundland in 1927 trying to be the first to cross the Atlantic. They crash in an odd fog, and every time that fog reappears they crash again with no memory of the previous crashes. At the time of the story it is 60 years later and they don't know they're ghosts or that Lindbergh had made the flight.
Deadly Encounter (CBS Television 1982, 96m) D: William A Graham. Susan Anspach = Chris Butler; James Gammon = Frank Kitchen; Michael C Gwynne = John Servas; Larry Hagman = Sam. Screenplay: Robert Boris, David J Kinghorn. Hounded by mobsters, Butler enlists the air of ex-combat helo pilot, Sam, in a drama described as "The best helicopter movie ever made" by an Aerofiles viewer. Also as American Eagle, which title conflicts with an unrelated 1989 film of the same name.

AIRCRAFT: Hughes 500.

Death Hunt (1981) An overly violent Lee Marvin-Charles Bronson shoot-'em-up set in the snow of the early '30s Klondike. While hardly an aviation film it does have a lengthy and well photographed segment featuring a RCAF Bristol Fighter F.2b replica on skis having an odd-looking, top wing-mounted machine gun and a seemingly endless ammo supply. Its crash against the side of a hill is an obvious model (thankfully!)
Death in the Air (Puritan Distributing 1937, 70m) D: Elmer Clifton. Leon Ames = Carl Goering, Lona Andre = Helen Gage, John Carroll = Jerry Blackwood, John Peters = Baron Otto von Guttard. Screenplay: Charles Condon. Planes are being shot down by a large black plane with a large "X" painted on the wing. Chief suspects are invited for the weekend to an old dark mansion. Also titled Pilot X.
December 7th (documentary; US War Dept 1943, 26m) D: John Ford, Gregg Toland. Harry Davenport = Mr. C, Walter Huston = Uncle Sam. Also Philip Ahn, Dana Andrews, Ralph Byrd, Paul Hurst, Robert Lowery, Irving Pichel, Karl Swenson. Original music by George M Cohan and Alfred Newman. Documentary about the bombing of Pearl Harbor and its results, recovering of the ships, improving of defense in Hawaii, and US efforts to beat back Japanese inforcements. The film exists in two versions. The released version recreates Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath. The longer, unreleased cut (rarely screened) brackets this material with fictional sequences.
Decision Against Time SEE The Man Against the Sky.
Der Stern von Afrika (Germany "The Star Of Africa"). No data.
Destination 60,000 (Allied Artists 1957, 65m) D: destination 80,000George Waggner. Bobby Clark = Skip Buckley, Pat Conway = Jeff Connors, Jeff Donnell = Ruth Buckley, Preston Foster = Col Ed Buckley, Coleen Gray = Mary Ellen, Denver Pyle = Mickey Hill. Screenplay: Waggner. Maltin remarks: "Worn-out premise: test pilots zoom through space, families wait nervously on the ground." Filmed in part at Edwards AFB CA.
Devil Dogs of the Air (MGM 1935, 86m) D: Lloyd Bacon. Ward Bond = senior instructor, James Cagney = Tommy O'Toole, Margaret Lindsay = Betty, Frank McHugh = "Crash" Kelly, Pat O'Brien = Lt Bill Brannigan. Screenplay: Earl Baldwin, Malcolm Stuart Boylan. Aerials by Frank Clarke, Paul Mantz.
Maltin review: "Tiresome potboiler with Marine Air Corps rivalry between Cagney and O'Brien. Their personalities, and good stunt-flying scenes, are the only saving grace." Yet the opening sequence alone is worth the price of admission with some spectacular stunting by Mantz, and the rest of the film is eye-candy for aficionados of USN aviation—includes ground close-ups of the rare Curtiss RC-1.
AIRCRAFT: Practically everything mid-'30s Navy imaginable!
Devil's General, The (West Germany "Des Teufels General"; Realfilm 1954, 120m) D: Helmut Kautner. Viktor De Kowa = Schmidt-Laussitz, Curt Jurgens = General Harras, Marianne Koch = Dorothea Geiss, Karl John Oderbruch. Screenplay: George Hurdalek, Helmut Kautner. While not a flying movie, it does give insight into the German military regime. Maltin review: "Jurgens is outstanding as a German war hero aviator who becomes disenchanted with Hitler and Nazism. Allegedly based on fact."
Devil's Squadron, The (Columbia 1935, 80m) D: Erle C Kenton. Richard Dix = Paul Redmond, Karen Morely = Martha Dawson, Lloyd Nolan = Dana Kirk, Shirley Ross = Eunice. Screenplay: Richard V Grace, Howard J Green.
Dirigible (Columbia 1931, 100m (some prints 93m)) D: Frank Capra. Emmett Corrigan = Adm Martin, Ralph Graves = Frisky Pierce, Jack Holt = Jack Bradon, Roscoe Karns = "Sock" McGuire, Fay Wray = Helen Pierce. Screenplay: Frank Wead. USN dirigible flight to Antarctica. Maltin review: "Story about Navy pilots' experimental use of dirigibles in the Antarctic has plenty of action and guts, but a sappy romantic story to weigh it down. On the whole, an interesting antique." Filmed in part at Lakehurst NJ, featured Los Angeles.
Dive Bomber (Warner Bros 1941, 133m) D: Michael Curtiz. Robert Armstrong = Art Lyons, Ralph Bellamy = Lance Rogers, Errol Flynn = Doug Lee, Allan Jenkins = Lucky Dice, Fred MacMurray = Joe Blake, Alexis Smith = Linda Fisher. Screenplay: Frank Wead, Robert Buckner. Has less to do with actual dive bombing and more with the lives and problems of research medics (all of them chain-smokers), but is visually rewarding for aviation aficionados. AA nomination for Best Cinematography (Bert Glennon) 1942. Maltin review: "Exciting, well-paced aviation film of experiments to eliminate pilot blackout. Flynn, MacMurray, and Smith perform well in a formula story." Also sometimes listed on tv as Flight Surgeon. Aerials by Frank Clarke, Tony LeVier, Paul Mantz, Tex Rankin, et al. Filmed at North Island NAS (San Diego) CA.

Divine Soldiers of the Sky (Japan; 1942). No data.
Dizzy Heights and Daring Hearts (Keystone/Triangle-Sennett 1915, silent) D: Mack Sennett or Walter Wright. Cora Anderson, Nick Cogley, Chester Conklin. Conklin, one of Sennett's second-string comedians, plays a foreign agent competing against a rival for an experimental aeroplane. Anderson is daughter of Cogley, owner of the Eagle Aviation Co, and an aviatrix in her own right. She's aboard the craft when Chester skyjacks it, but another pilot pursues them. There are some trick shots, blatantly phony yet very impressive for 1915. The ending will please, although it won't surprise.

AIRCRAFT: Wright Model B.
Dizzy Pilots (19??) D: Jules White. Three Stooges comedy short.
Dogfights (PBS tv documentary series 2008, 60m episodes) Aerial combat from WW1 to Desert Storm.
Doolittle, An American Hero (tv documentary; PBS 19??, 70m). No data.
Doroga K Zviozdam (USSR "The Way to the Stars"; 1942). No data.
Douglas DC-3 (PBS Nova tv documentary;1985, 60m) 50th Anniversary of the DC-3.
Dragonfly Squadron (Allied Artists 1953, 82m) D: Lesley Selander. Bruce Bennett, Barbara Britton, John Hodiak = Maj Matt Brady, Jess Parker. Korean War. Maltin review: "Usual Korean War story, alternating between pilots in the air and their romantic problems on ground."