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Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes (1965)

Hoping to push Britain to the forefront of aviation, a London publisher organizes an international air race across the English Channel, but must contend with two entrants vying for his daughter, as well as national rivalries and cheating.

Director:

Ken Annakin
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stuart Whitman ... Orvil Newton
Sarah Miles ... Patricia Rawnsley
James Fox ... Richard Mays
Alberto Sordi ... Count Emilio Ponticelli
Robert Morley ... Lord Rawnsley
Gert Fröbe ... Count Manfred Von Holstein (as Gert Frobe)
Jean-Pierre Cassel ... Pierre Dubois
Irina Demick ... Brigitte / Ingrid / Marlene / Françoise / Yvette / Betty
Eric Sykes ... Courtney
Red Skelton ... The Neanderthal Man / Ancient Greek Flyer / Medieval Flyer / Winged Bicycle Rider / Winged Car Rider / Jet Pack Tester / Ornithopter Pilot / Passenger in Airport
Terry-Thomas ... Sir Percy Ware-Armitage
Benny Hill ... Fire Chief Perkins
Yûjirô Ishihara ... Yamamoto (as Yujiro Ishihara)
Flora Robson ... Mother Superior
Karl Michael Vogler ... Captain Rumpelstrosse
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Storyline

In the infancy of aviation in 1910, a British newspaper offers a prize for the winner of a cross-channel air race which brings flyers from all over the world. There are many subplots as the flyers jockey for position and the affections of various women. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

20th Century-Fox Presents The Motion Picture That Sets Comedy Ahead 100 Years! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | German | Italian | Japanese

Release Date:

16 June 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)

Color:

Black and White (prologue)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name Sir Percy Ware-Armitage was a reference to the male member (Percy) and a then-leading company which produced bathroom porcelain products (Armitage-Ware - now Armitage Shanks) - including urinals. See more »

Goofs

The configuration of several aircraft changes from shot to shot. This includes the Bristol Boxkite which, in some scenes has two rudders and in others has three. The Antoinette is changed the most. In close ups it has thin "wing warping" wings. In others it has thick modern glider wings with ailerons with redundant support wires added. These changes occurred when it became clear that the accurate replicas of 1910 flying machines, originally built were not airworthy enough. Details are provided in Allen Wheeler's book "Building Aeroplanes for Those Magnificent Men." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The Neanderthal Man: [watches a gull flying over a beach]
Narrator: Ever since man started to think, he's wanted to fly. But flying was strictly for the birds.
The Neanderthal Man: [flapping his arms enthusiastically, he leaps from a sandy bluff and falls onto the beach below]
Narrator: And continued to be so for thousands of years.
[in ancient Greece, a man wearing makeshift wings is forced at swordpoint off a temple roof]
Narrator: Man, eternally optimistic, kept trying.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits: Those Magnificent Men - and Women - were ... See more »

Connections

Referenced in Doctor Who Confidential: War Games (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Deutschlandlied
(uncredited)
Music by Franz Joseph Haydn
Heard in the scene of the Germans receiving the news of the competition
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Comedy for the Ages; Farce, Beauty Aloft, Humorous Types Below
28 June 2005 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

"Those Magnificent Men" probably looked on story boards like merely a colorful, often humorous and very enactable satire of an era, of its nations and of the early days of manned flight. Its plot line involved an international air race, from England to Paris, for whose prizes competitors in home-made aircraft from all over the world would journey to compete. The racers included Stuart Whitman aided by his brother Sam Wanamaker (Wilbur and Orville) from the U.S., James Fox of England, Albert Sordi from Italy, Gert Frobe and his team from Germany, Jean-Pierre Cassell and his ebullient hard-drinking group from France, plus a Scotsman and his dog, the villainous Sir Percy and his henchman, Terry-Thomas and Eric Sykes, a Japanese entrant and many others. Others in the large cast of the ensuing film also included Robert Morely as the wealthy patrician organizer of the race, a rather weak Sarah Miles as his daughter, beautiful Irina Demick who keeps turning up in every locale (in a new persona) and many more. But what the film's makers forgot was that the bravery and beauty of these canvas-winged and wooden primitive aircraft taking off and actually achieving flight would upstage even the often-hilarious comedy of the well-written proceedings. Using Red Skelton as "every man who has ever dreamed of flight", the producers prepared for the race, staged the race, and awarded the prizes--the climax being the arrival of the racers and what happened near the finish line, plus a justly happy ending. The film was written by Ken Annakin with Jack Davies, and Annakin directed it very competently also. Ron Goodwin's music and title song are well-remembered treats too. Others in the large, attractive cast include narrator James Robertson Justice, Gordon Jackson, Zena Marshall, Karl Michael Vogler, Yujiro Ishihara, Benny Hill, Flora Robson and Jeremy Lloyd. The film's pace is beautifully varied and consistently-maintained; the action includes acts of sabotage by the villains, practice flights gone wrong, low-comedy, a duel between the dour Frobe and devil-may-care Cassell conducted in hot air balloons, national humor at the expense of all concerned and incidents before and during the race. This is a very well-acted film; but the fine technical achievements and subordinate arts here had to take a back seat to the flight of the many wonderful "early birds", who outshone even the amusing national types who flew them. A much-imitated and superior comedy classic of its sort.


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