Hell's Angels (1930)

Quite engaging, with arresting flying scenes worthy of their acclaim (and perhaps the absurd amount of work put into them too), but too dedicated to relationships and characters that grind things to a halt. A speech about profiteering and corruption, of war and ethics is a rare highlight in the ‘character’ side of the film, but for the most part it’s only the flying scenes that really crackle with any type of electricity.

The more interesting story is the production of the film itself, with Howard Hughes’ reshooting of it after films with sound started drawing attention, and his devotion to making the flying scenes as epic as possible, no matter the cost (of money or human life). To think he was only twenty-one directing this…perhaps that goes a ways to illuminating the mixed motivations and shaky human element of the film though. Three zeppelins, and a mistaken brother.

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