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The Conquest of the Air

Conceived in 1934, shot circa '37 and put together after the outbreak of war, this Korda flying picture is part of a lost genre, from a time when planes still held the thrill of the new. Its first half is a series of sketches - Icarus to the Wright Brothers - about humanity's attempts to outfox gravity. The succession of gaga monks and optimistic daredevils plummeting to earth, plus Olivier as Lunardi the ballooning Neapolitan, is more fun than the second part, a documentary survey of aviation between the wars, as the period had just become known. Alcock and Brown, the Vickers-Vimy, the R101 - it might have seemed quite romantic, but for Frend's posh schoolmaster commentating style.

Release details

Duration: 71 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Zoltan Korda, William Cameron Menzies, Alexander Esway, Donald Taylor, Alexander Shaw, John Monk Saunders
Screenwriter: John Monk Saunders, Peter Bezencenet
Cast: Valentine Dyall
Alan Wheatley
Hay Petrie
Laurence Olivier
Francis L Sullivan
Michael Rennie
Charles Frend
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