Lafayette Escadrille

Overview

Though director William Wellman was attached to the Lafayette Flying Corps during WW1, many people believed that he was actually with the celebrated Lafayette Escadrille, and this 1958 actioner does little to dispel that belief. The film concentrates on a group of courageous young American aviators who, long before the USA's entry into the Great War, band together to fight the minions of the Kaiser in the skies of France. One of these reckless flyboys is Thad Walker Tab Hunter, who arrives in Paris after being ...
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DVD (Remastered / Pan & Scan)
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Overview

Though director William Wellman was attached to the Lafayette Flying Corps during WW1, many people believed that he was actually with the celebrated Lafayette Escadrille, and this 1958 actioner does little to dispel that belief. The film concentrates on a group of courageous young American aviators who, long before the USA's entry into the Great War, band together to fight the minions of the Kaiser in the skies of France. One of these reckless flyboys is Thad Walker Tab Hunter, who arrives in Paris after being thrown out of his wealthy father's home. Joining the Escadrille with Walker are fellow expatriates Tom Hitchcock Jody McCrea, Duke Sinclaire David Janssen and "Wild Bill" Wellman played by the director's son, Bill Wellman Jr.. After a bit of parlez-vous with the local mademoiselles, Walker and his pals take to the air, and at this point, the film really gets off the ground no pun intended. The spectacular aerial sequences are evocative of those in Wellman's silent classic Wings, though Lafayette Escadrille itself falls a bit short of classic status.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Lafayette Escadrille closed out director William Wellman's career after just over three decades, and almost perfectly bookends his serious career with the 1927 World War I epic Wings (though he had directed a tiny handful of minor pictures before that). And the best parts of Lafayette Escadrille are the aerial sequences, of which there are too few to carry the whole picture. The rest of it is drama on the ground, concerning upper-class ne'er-do-well Tab Hunter's escape from a life of delinquency into the Allied flying corps of the First World War. Hunter actually turns in one of his better performances here, with excellent support from David Janssen, Jody McCrea, Will Hutchins, William Wellman, Jr. (playing his father), and Etchika Choureau, plus such movie veterans as Paul Fix and Marcel Dalio. The makings of a masterpiece were here, but Warner Bros. was unhappy with what Wellman delivered, and -- much as MGM had with the director's Across The Wide Missouri -- made major and serious cuts to the picture, which affected the balance of all of these elements and left a much less memorable movie (filled with some fine moments) in its place.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/8/2011
  • UPC: 883316395714
  • Original Release: 1958
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Remastered / Pan & Scan
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:33:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 13,622

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tab Hunter Thad Walker
Etchika Choureau Renee Beaulieu
William Wellman Jr. Bill Wellmann
Jody McCrea Tom Hitchcock
Dennis Devine Red Scanlon
Marcel Dalio Drillmaster
David Janssen "Duke" Sinclaire
Paul Fix U.S. General
Veola Vonn Mme. Olga
Will Hutchins Dave Putnam
Clint Eastwood George Moseley
Bob Hover Brett Halsey
Tom Laughlin Arthur Blumenthal
Brett Halsey Frank Baylies
Henry Nakamura Jimmy
Maurice Marsac Sgt. Parris
George Nardelli Concierge
Raymond Bailey Mr. Walker
Technical Credits
William Wellman Director, Producer
Gordon Bau Makeup
John Beckman Art Director
Marjorie Best Costumes/Costume Designer
William H. Clothier Cinematographer
A.S. Fleischman Screenwriter
Ralph S. Hurst Set Decoration/Design
Owen Marks Editor
Donald A. Peters Production Designer
Leonard Rosenman Score Composer
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