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The Hindenburg


Universal Studios was turning out disaster movies at a rapid pace in 1975 when they released one of the more offbeat genre entrees, THE HINDENBURG.

Director Robert Wise (The Andromeda Strain, The Day the Earth Stood Still) takes a more serious tone with the film, merging historical fact with plenty of fiction as he spins one version of why the Nazi's most luxurious propaganda tool exploded in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

George C. Scott is very good as a German Colonel with a distaste for the fuhrer and the SS, but assigned to protect the airship on its maiden voyage to the USA. Scott takes the movie on his back and carries it effortlessly, he is that good.

Luckily, the story lines up an Agatha Christie style gallery of characters that all emerge as suspects with motives to destroy the ship.

Is it Anne Bancroft's Countess? Burgess Meredith's professional gambler, Crewman William Atherton, with plenty of attitude an a girlfriend with suspect political ties?

Since Wise knows that YOU know how the film ends, he weaves a clever little mystery that will keep you guessing. There are also enough action sequences to keep you engaged along the trip, including a great scene as Boerth (Atherton) climbs out on the huge fin of the airship to repair a tear.

The final 15 minutes intercut actual footage of the disaster with a black and white recreation of our main characters as the ship explodes.

The special effects throughout are very good and still hold up well. The final moments, as the true-life, original audio of a radio reporter on scene describes the event still packs a punch.

Solid entertainment with some badly dated moments (especially anytime a badly overacting Robert Clary is on-screen, literally bringing too much "Hogans Heroes" to the movie), The Hindenburg floats nicely to a B and remains a guilty pleasure from the seventies disaster movie era.

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