The Hindenburg

1975, Movie, PG, 125 mins


This insipid, boring, implausible, senseless, deliciously funny, and expensively mounted film puts forth the theory that the Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on the evening of May 6, 1937, was the direct result of a prewar anti-Nazi conspiracy theory. (How this incredible disaster, recorded graphically on newsreel footage, really came about is still a matter of debate.) Under Robert Wise's direction, the scenario centers on Col. Ritter (George C. Scott), a dedicated German security officer put on board the dirigible as it sails for America, assisted by Nazi partisan Martin Vogel (Roy Thinnes). Ritter suspects crew and passengers alike of potential sabotage and his subtle investigations encompass a host of characters, including a reefer-puffing countess (Anne Bancroft), a pair of card sharps (Burgess Meredith and Rene Auberjonois), and a nervous American ad exec (Gig Young). Throughout the rather uneventful voyage, Ritter probes and pries, finding no answers until this floating Grand Hotel is about to dock, when he discovers a bomb planted by a crew member who wishes to discredit Hitler's regime.

There's no tension whatsoever and none of the characters is remotely interesting, let alone sympathetic. THE HINDENBURG did, however, win two Oscars (Peter Berkos for Best Sound Effects; Albert Whitlock and Glen Robinson for Best Visual Effects) and was nominated for three more (Cinematography, Art Direction, and Sound). leave a comment

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