5.7/10
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Lafayette Escadrille (1958)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 28 February 1958 (USA)
American youth and flying ace flies for France in World War I, meets and loves a French girl and a prostitute.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Albert Sidney Fleischman (screen play), William A. Wellman (from a story by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tab Hunter ... Thad Walker
Etchika Choureau ... Renée Beaulieu
Marcel Dalio ... Drill Sergeant
David Janssen ... Duke Sinclair
Paul Fix ... U.S. General
Veola Vonn Veola Vonn ... The Madam
Will Hutchins ... Dave Putnam
Clint Eastwood ... George Moseley
Robert Hover Robert Hover ... Dave Judd (as Bob Hover)
Tom Laughlin ... Arthur Blumenthal
Brett Halsey ... Frank Baylies
Henry Nakamura ... Jimmy
Maurice Marsac ... Sgt. Parris
Raymond Bailey ... Amos J. Walker
William Wellman Jr. ... Bill Wellman Sr.
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Storyline

Thad Walker (Tab Hunter) is a young man from a good Boston family, but he's spoiled, rebellious, and always at odds with his strict father. When Thad gets into trouble with the law one time too many, his father strikes him. Thad leaves his home and joins up with other American volunteers heading for the front lines of World War I. Since the U.S. is not at war yet, Thad joins the French Legion. The American volunteers in the French Legion are trained as fighter pilots for the Lafayette Escadrille. During his training, Thad proves he's a skilled flyer, but his temperament prevents him from taking orders and being obedient. When he strikes a French drill officer, Thad faces the prospect of a court-martial and a minimum sentence of ten years in prison. Discouraged, he deserts and runs away to Paris, where he first fell in love with a pretty French girl named Renée Beaulieu (Etchika Choureau). They live together in her small hotel room and eventually get unofficially married. But the ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Thad Walker loved like he flew - dangerously and often! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

28 February 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

C'est la guerre See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final movie of Writer, Producer, and Director William A. Wellman. NOTE: He had previously directed numerous aviation dramas, including Wings (1927), the winner of the first Academy Award for Best Picture, saw this movie as a tribute to his fellow World War I combat pilots. The studio, however, gave Wellman a very low budget, and he felt he could not make the movie he wanted to make. Originally, this movie had a tragic ending for Thad Walker and his Parisian bride, but studio head Jack L. Warner demanded a happy ending. When Wellman refused, the studio took the movie away and shot a new ending with Tab Hunter and Etchika Choureau. Afterwards, Wellman decided to retire from directing. His son, William Wellman, Jr., later said that his father "just got tired of fighting with the studios." See more »

Goofs

Aviators in World War I generally didn't wear the high-collar tunics like the one worn by Thad. This is because they needed to be able to turn their heads while flying. Rather, they wore a uniform coat that required a shirt and tie. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: A half-forgotten corner of France in a wholly-forgotten war. In memory of the heroes of the Lafayette Escadrille, who died in defense of life and of liberty. This monument, this patch of foreign sky, belongs to a handful of Americans who flew for France and died for France in the First World War. They came with an air of adventure or a sense of impatience in the days before America entered the war. The wore French uniforms, they fought in French planes, and they fell in love with ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

And Introducing Bill Wellman, Jr. Jody McCrea Dennis Devine See more »

Alternate Versions

There are two versions of the film: in one the main characters marry each other happily, in the other Tab Hunter's character dies and Etchika Choureau's commits suicide. See more »

Connections

Version of Flyboys (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Opportunity: BLOWN.
14 July 2014 | by jimel98See all my reviews

Every scene between Thad and what's-her-name dragged the movie down. Sorry, the movie is called "Lafayette Escadrille", not "Thad and, Whomever Get Hitched." Yaaaaaaaaaawwn. David Janssen was terrific. Always a solid performance from him and the rest of the cast was also splendid to watch. Why William Wellman, Jr. didn't get better parts is beyond me. A great actor, nah, but did a nice job. Sure, Tab Hunter was used by the studio as the draw and I enjoyed his performance, and I guess having a love interest isn't a crime, but it took up way too much of the film and frankly ruined the whole experience for me. I'm not against love stories, I've enjoyed my share, but when it becomes a focal point of a movie that's supposed to be about the Lafayette Escadrille, well, let's put it this way; I watched it after recording it and ended up using the fast forward button.

What I found truly sad was, this should have been a superior film about the directors personal experiences and featuring his own son playing him. How rare an opportunity is that? As I read in the 'trivia', I guess the studio is to blame. That sickens me. Movie executives can be block headed, simpleminded twerps just like TV executives. What should have been a brilliant and fascinating film, was a mediocre crapshoot. How very, very sad.


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