Cast & Crew
In 1927, in a hotel near New York's Roosevelt Field, air pilot Charles A. "Slim" Lindbergh has been waiting for seven days for the rain to stop, so that he can embark on what he hopes will be man's first successful nonstop trans-Atlantic flight to Paris. While Lindbergh lies sleepless, his friend, B. F. "Frank" Mahoney, guards his hotel room door from the numerous reporters who have waited with him for a break in the weather. In his room, Lindbergh reminisces about his former days as an air mail pilot flying over the Midwest: On a wintry night flight to Chicago, Lindbergh lands his antiquated De Haviland in a tiny air field to gas up. Although snow seems imminent, Lindbergh takes off, unaware that the Chicago landing field has closed due to snow. While in the air, Lindbergh's plane ices up and stalls, forcing him to parachute out with the mailbag. Continuing his journey by train, Lindbergh meets a suspender salesman who, recognizing he is an aviator, reports that two airmen died competing for the Orteig prize to be awarded to the first pilots to fly across the Atlantic nonstop. His interest piqued, Lindbergh calls Columbia Aircraft Corporation in New York City from the diner at St. Louis' Lambert Flying Field. Pretending to represent a group of prominent businessmen planning to buy a plane to compete in the trans-Atlantic race, Lindbergh is quoted the price of $15,000 for a Belanca plane. For the next six weeks, Lindbergh proposes his idea about entering the competition to St. Louis financiers. Eventually, with the help of his flying student, Harry Knight, Lindbergh meets with bank president Harold Bixby and other prominent St. Louis citizens. He explains to the group that, according to his calculations, flying nonstop, he can cross the ocean in forty hours in a single-engine plane by stripping the craft of all non-essential weight, thus allowing room for extra fuel tanks. The men are excited by Lindbergh's vision and create a name for the plane, Spirit of St. Louis . With a $15,000 check provided by them, Lindbergh proceeds to New York, but upon arriving there, is told by Columbia's president that the company will not sell the plane unless they choose the pilot. Dispirited, Lindbergh returns to St. Louis, where his sponsors immediately send him to San Diego to check out a small aircraft factory, Ryan Company. There he meets Frank, the president who promises to build a plane in ninety days. At the factory, Frank, Lindbergh and Ryan's chief engineer agree upon a design that puts the gas tank in front. Although it blocks Lindbergh's forward view, he is confident that he can use side windows and a periscope to compensate. To further decrease the weight, Lindbergh refuses to install all heavy indicator panels and plans to navigate by "dead reckoning," using the stars, sun and magnetic field. In the race to complete the plane ahead of schedule, workers at the factory agree to work twenty-four hour shifts. Meanwhile, a radio broadcast reports that a team of two pilots, who were vying for the Orteig prize, were killed flight-testing a plane. The Ryan plane is completed in sixty-three days, but it seems all for nothing, as two French fliers competing for the prize take off for New York. Confident that the pilots will succeed, Lindbergh flies the Ryan to St. Louis, where he apologizes to Bixby about losing the prize money to the French fliers, thus depriving his backers of the opportunity to recoup their investment. However, Bixby reports that the Frenchmen, now missing, are believed to have gone down from ice on their wings. Although other pilots are preparing to attempt the crossing, the businessmen are reluctant to risk Lindbergh's life. Determined to carry on, Lindbergh explains that the dead pilots would understand his resolve and proceeds as planned. At the New York hotel, where reporters type that he is sleeping like a baby, Lindbergh breaks out of his reverie and worries about building enough speed to take off in the mud. To decrease the weight of his plane, if only by a pound, Lindbergh unpacks his toothbrush, razor and extra shirt. He also unpacks the St. Christopher medal given to him by his student, Father Hussman, and reminisces how the priest's special prayers for every occasion seemed to compensate for his poor flying skills. Finally, unable to sleep, Lindbergh goes to the airport, where his plane waits, filled with three hundred gallons of gas. To decrease the plane's weight by twenty pounds, he eliminates the parachute. Limited space in the compartment necessitates placing the magnetic compass in an awkward position, so he determines that he needs a small mirror to see it. From the crowd waiting to watch the take-off, a young woman offers her mirror, which is then glued into place. Surreptitiously, Frank slips the St. Christopher's medal into Lindbergh's lunch bag. After a risky take-off, during which Lindbergh barely tops the trees, he discovers he has a stowaway, a fly, and passes time by calculating whether the insect flying within the plane adds weight. Every hour, Lindbergh switches fuel tanks to keep the load balanced. After passing over Cape Cod, he realizes his foot is numb and that he has not slept in twenty-eight hours. This prompts memories of sleeping on railroad tracks, short bunk beds, and under a windmill. When Lindbergh begins to doze, the fly, which he named "Jasper," awakens him by alighting on his face. Passing over Nova Scotia, Lindbergh spots a motorcyclist below and remembers his own Harley-Davidson, which he traded for his first plane on which he taught himself to fly. Eleven hours from New York, and with 1,900 miles of open water to cover before reaching Ireland, Lindbergh sees mountain peaks and wonders if the downed pilots are lost there. His own dangerous stunts come to mind and he recalls performing in a "Flying Circus." During his sixteenth hour of flight, as darkness falls, he worries that the plane's cylinder might crack from the cold. The sight of a "white ship," which he soon realizes is an iceberg, is evidence that he is near the Arctic Circle. Exhausted, he longs to land on one and sleep, and remembers the time he landed an old clunker of a plane at Brooks Field army base. After eighteen hours of flight, the plane's wings ice up, and when the engine stalls, he turns the plane toward warmer air. As the stalled plane begins to plummet, he prepares to bail out, but the ice breaks off and the engine resumes running. Upon returning to his course, Lindbergh discovers that his compass has become inoperable, thus forcing him to resort to flying by the stars. By dawn, he is so tired that he cannot do calculations and falls asleep, causing the plane to circle and descend, but sunlight reflecting off the mirror awakens him in time to regain control of the plane. A seagull alerts him to the nearness of land, and he soon realizes that he has reached Ireland ahead of schedule. When he prepares to eat his sandwich, he finds the St. Christopher's medal and hangs it on the dashboard. At the coast of France he turns northeast to follow the Seine River, noting he has only ninety-eight miles to go. Anxiety strikes when his engines again cut out, until he realizes he forgot to switch gas tanks. With a flick of the switch, he remedies the problem and the plane continues. Evening falls and he sees the lights of Paris. Flying toward Le Bourget airfield, he is bewildered to see spotlights and crowds of people. Exhaustion causes him to panic as he lands and he cries out one of Father Hussman's prayers, "Oh, God help me!" On the ground, hordes of people rush to Lindbergh, blind him with camera flashes and carry him triumphantly to the hangar, to which others are dragging his plane. Tired and confused, Lindbergh eventually realizes that the crowd is cheering for his great achievement. Upon Lindbergh's return to New York, the celebrations continue with a huge parade in his honor.
James L. Robertson
Robert B. Williams
William J. White
Eddie Leon Albert
Major General Victor Bertrandias Usaf (ret)
Charles C. Coleman Jr.
Lloyd R. Crawford
Harlan A. Gurney
H. F. Koenekamp
William L. Kuehl
John T. Mapes
J. Peverell Marley
J. Alvin Marsh
M. A. Merrick
Arthur P. Schmidt
Best Special Effects
The Spirit of St. Louis
Originally the lead role of Lindbergh was offered to John Kerr, who had earned acclaim for his performance in the Broadway production of Tea and Sympathy and as a psychiatric patient in Vincente Minnelli's The Cobweb (1955); Kerr turned the part down due to Lindbergh's notorious sympathies with the Nazi party. Not only did Lindbergh visit Germany during the late thirties, Hermann Goering decorated him with the Service Cross of the German Eagle and he even toyed with the idea of moving to Wannsee. Later in life, Lindbergh said, "I always regarded the fuss about it as a sort of teapot tempest." James Stewart, who had long admired Lindbergh's aviation achievement and had served in the Air Force himself, was eager to play the role but had a difficult time convincing studio head Jack Warner to accept the forty-seven-year-old actor in the part of a twenty-five-year-old man. "...I need a star but not one that's pushing fifty," Warner said. Warner then recommended that producer Leland Hayward tell James Stewart that was he too fat for the part. Stewart recalls, "I couldn't believe what I was hearing, but I wanted the part so badly I dieted. I'd never dieted before in my life. I started off at 170 lbs. and in the end I was so thin I didn't even look like myself. In fact I looked terribly ill. My face was gaunt and I had black rings under my eyes." Eventually Hayward convinced Warner to let Stewart have the part.
Co-screenwriter Charles Lederer got his start writing additional dialogue for the first screen adaptation of Hecht and MacArthur's hit Broadway play The Front Page (1931), which Billy Wilder remade in 1974. Lederer had since earned a reputation for writing some of Hollywood's sharpest dialogue, including His Girl Friday (1940) - another version of The Front Page - and the brutal film noir Kiss of Death (1947). When Lederer suddenly resigned, complaining that Wilder had insulted him once too often, Wilder hired newcomer Wendell Mayes in his place. Mayes' only previous experience was as a writer for Kraft Television Theater. At Wilder's recommendation, Mayes was subsequently hired by Otto Preminger to write the screenplay for Anatomy of a Murder ( 1959), for which he received an Academy Award nomination; other Preminger/Mayes collaborations include Advise and Consent (1962) and In Harm's Way (1965). Mayes soon became one of the highest-paid screenwriters in the industry.
The Spirit of St. Louis was plagued with cost overruns. The original plane, The Sprit of St. Louis, cost $13,000 to build in the 1920s; the full-scale replicas painstakingly reconstructed for the film from the original blueprints cost over $100,000. Although much of the film took place inside a cockpit, there was extensive (and expensive) location and aerial shooting in New York, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Ireland and Paris. Wilder later said of the shoot: "We had unbelievable mechanical problems. We could not communicate with a plane once it was up there, so when we had to do another take, it had to land, get the instructions, and take off again. We had other planes in the air to film the plane when we were shooting. The weather would change from one minute to the next. God, it was horrendous." The film's budget topped $6,000,000, but it grossed only $2,600,000 in its initial run. Jack Warner characterized it as "the most disastrous failure we ever had." While it is perhaps neither Stewart's nor Wilder's strongest work, it nonetheless remains a worthy effort.
A reviewer in Time said of Stewart's performance: "....Stewart, for all his professional, 48-year-old boyishness, succeeds almost continuously in suggesting what the world sensed at the time: that Lindbergh's flight was not the mere physical adventure of a rash young 'flying fool,' but rather a journey of the spirit." In spite of the obvious age difference between Stewart and the young Lindbergh, it is nonetheless difficult to imagine anyone else who could carry the film single-handedly the way he does for its 135-minute running time. Stewart also succeeded in accurately recreating the technical aspects of flying throughout the film; Lindbergh himself was particularly impressed by the moment when Stewart taps the oil gauge while starting the engine, the sort of passing detail only an experienced pilot like Stewart would know. Variety also praised the film's meticulous production values and Robert Burks' widescreen cinematography. Look for future television mogul Aaron Spelling, producer of series such as Charlie's Angels and Dynasty, in the role Mr. Pearless.
Producer: Leland Hayward
Director: Billy Wilder
Screenplay: Wendell Mayes, Charles Lederer and Billy Wilder, based on the book by Charles A. Lindbergh
Cinematography: Robert Burks, J. Peverell Marley
Editor: Arthur P. Schmidt
Art Director: Art Loel
Music: Franz Waxman
Technical Advisors: Major-General Victor Bertrandias, U.S.A.F., Harlan A. Gurney
Cast: James Stewart (Charles Lindbergh), Murray Hamilton (Bud Gurney), Patricia Smith (Mirror Girl), Bartlett Robinson (B. F. Mahoney), Marc Connelly (Father Hussman), Arthur Space (Donald Hall), Charles Watts (O. W. Schultz).
by James Steffen
The Spirit of St. Louis
TCM Remembers - Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder had the most deliciously dirty mind in Hollywood. The director dug into racy, controversial subjects with cynical wit and rare candor; he set new standards for film noir, sex comedies and the buddy film and his movies continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers.
Cameron Crowe, screenwriter and director of contemporary hit films such as Jerry Maguire(1996), was one of those moved by Wilder's film sense. The struggling filmmaker struck up a friendship with the 93-year old veteran and found a friend and a mentor. Their conversations were recently chronicled in a book by Cameron Crowe entitled Conversations with Wilder(published by Knoft).
Billy Wilder might have been born in Vienna, but American culture influenced him from the earliest days. Given the name Samuel, Wilder's mother called her son 'Billy' in honor of Buffalo Bill Cody. The name stuck.
Billy was as restless as his namesake and left law school to become a journalist. While grinding out articles for a Berlin newspaper, Wilder joined with future film directors Fred Zinnemann, Robert Sidomak and Edgar G. Ulmer to make a short film, Menschen Am Sonntag (1929). By the mid-1930s, he had written seven scenarios and even tried his hand at directing. After Hitler's rise to power in 1934, Wilder fled his homeland. Once in Hollywood, Wilder and roommate Peter Lorre had to learn English quickly if they wanted to join the American film industry. Together the German expatriates learned the language and began staking their territory in the Dream Factory.
As a writer, Wilder could craft realistic relationships with sharp dialogue; he proved this in his scripts for Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo and Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire(1941). As a filmmaker, Wilder was well acquainted with the shadowy, brooding style of German Expressionism. He brought these two gifts together to create a landmark film noir - DOUBLE INDEMNITY(1944). He followed this cinematic triumph with a risky project, the story of an alcoholic on a three-day binge. Not the usual subject matter for a Hollywood studio, THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) nevertheless claimed the Academy Award for Best Picture. By the end of the decade, Wilder dared even to paint a portrait of Hollywood stardom gone awry in Sunset Boulevard (1950).
Each of these films is an undisputed classic today, but even at the time, his films were lauded. Six of his screenplays were nominated for Oscars between 1941-1950. Three of his eight Best Director nominations also came during this period. Billy Wilder claimed the American Dream; he was successfully playing by his own rules.
By the end of the '50s, as censorship guidelines were easing, Wilder's projects became even more daring. Sex was central to Wilder's world and Hollywood celebrated his candor. He directed Marilyn Monroe in two of her most sensuous roles, The Seven Year Itch (1955) and SOME LIKE IT HOT(1959). More often than not, Wilder liked pointing his finger at the hyprocrisy of people's sexual mores. In THE APARTMENT(1960), Wilder took an incisive look at corrupt businessmen exploiting their employees for sexual favors. In IRMA LA DOUCE (1963), the world of a Parisian prostitute was lovingly painted in Technicolor tones. In Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), Wilder finally stepped over the line with the story of a struggling composer willing to offer his wife to sell a song.The film, which seems so innocent today, was scandalous in its own day. Critics called Kiss Me, Stupid pornographic smut and buried the picture. Audiences ignored it. Today, the film is a risque farce with great performances by Dean Martin and Kim Novak. The critical lambast deeply affected Wilder; this would be his last sex comedy.
In 1966 Wilder brought together the dynamic combination of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau with THE FORTUNE COOKIE. Director and stars teamed again for The Front Page (1974), a remake of the newspaper classic; and Buddy, Buddy (1981), the story of an assassin and a sad sack ready to commit suicide.
Wilder's many years in Hollywood produced an amazing string of hits. From sarcastic and cynical social commentary to outrageous sex farce, Wilder pushed his audiences to look at their own values and morals. He was an outsider who wasn't afraid to point out the follies of his fellow man or the worst aspects of American culture. He will be sorely missed.
By Jeremy Geltzer
TCM Remembers - Billy Wilder
The replica of the plane "The Spirit of St. Louis" built for this film is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
'James Stewart' , who was portraying Lindbergh at the age of 25, was in his late 40s when the film was made.
The movie was a box office flop when originally released.
After the opening credits, the following written prologue appears: "In 1927 a young man alone in a single engine airplane flew non-stop from Roosevelt Field in New York across the entire North Atlantic to Le Bourget Field in Paris, a distance of three thousand six hundred and ten miles. In this triumph of mind, body and spirit, Charles A. Lindbergh influenced the lives of everyone on earth-for in the 33 hours and 30 minutes of his flight the air age became a reality. This is the story of that flight." Several flashback sequences are interspersed throughout the film. Most of the flashbacks are introduced by the voice-over narration of James Stewart, who as "Lindbergh" provides intermittent narration throughout the film. As noted in the Motion Picture Herald review, footage from an actual 1927 newsreel, showing the "unbelievable adulation which marked the stupendous New York parade when Lindbergh returned home" was shown at the end of the film.
As depicted in the film, in 1919, when aviation was in its infancy, a prize was offered by French-American New York hotelier Raymond Orteig, to the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. Not until the mid-1920s had developments in aircraft made that kind of flight possible. Even then, however, the dangers remained, among them: fuel shortages; inclement weather; ice weighing down planes, stalling engines or bursting fuel lines; pilot fatigue; and loss of direction. Several pilots attempted to win the Orteig prize, usually flying in teams of two and in multi-engine planes; many died or were injured in the attempt, and none had been successful. When twenty-five-year-old airmail pilot Charles A. Lindbergh registered with the National Aeronautic Association as a contestant for the prize, he was considered a long shot. According to his autobiography, he was eager to prove the potential of air travel to the public and felt that his Midwestern airmail route, which required nighttime flying in the snow, ice and fog, was adequate preparation for the challenges of trans-Atlantic flight.
Many of the characters in the film were real persons. As shown in the film, St. Louis, MO businessmen financed the building of Lindbergh's plane, which Harold Bixby, the president of State National Bank and the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce (portrayed by David Orrick), named Spirit of St. Louis. According to modern sources, Lindbergh did attempt to purchase a Bellanca and, failing that, was directed to the Ryan Airlines, Inc. by his backers. The employees of the company, headed by B. F. "Frank" Mahoney, worked long hours to complete the plane in sixty days. Although the work of Ryan's chief engineer, Donald Hall, is underplayed in the film, according to modern sources, Hall and Lindbergh worked closely together in designing the plane.
Two days before Lindbergh flew the newly tested plane to St. Louis, French pilots Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli disappeared mid-flight in their attempt to travel from Paris to New York. According to modern sources, Lindbergh's flight from the San Diego area to Roosevelt Field, NY, with one stop in St. Louis, broke the transcontinental record of that time.
Most incidents in the film are historically accurate: The placing of the fuel tank in the front of the plane, the spectator who offered her mirror to Lindbergh, the inclement weather and muddy runway at Roosevelt Field and Lindbergh's sleepless night before the flight are true events. The gathering of thousands of people waiting for Lindbergh at Le Bourget airfield at the end of his flight was also a true occurrence. The song, "Rio Rita," which Stewart sings briefly, was from the 1927 Broadway show of the same name. According to a modern source, Lindbergh and Mahoney were on their way to the theater to see the play on May 19, 1927 when they learned that the Weather Bureau had predicted a change in the weather. Believing that Lindbergh would be able to take off early in the morning, they returned to the hotel without seeing the play. On May 20, 1927, Lindbergh took off for France, arriving at Le Bourget on 21 May, thirty-three and a half hours later.
Lindbergh's journey popularized aviation, enticing many men into the field, and proved the future potential of air travel. In the following years, the number of applicants for pilot's licenses, licensed aircrafts and American landing fields and airports increased dramatically. Dubbed "Lucky Lindy" by his fans, Lindbergh became an international hero. His feat inspired the popular song "Lucky Lindy" as well as a dance, "The Lindy Hop," which was named for him. His dedication to commercial aviation continued throughout his life, during which he helped to develop transcontinental aviation and flew survey flights for passenger and airmail routes.
Two years after the events of the film, following his marriage to the future author Anne Morrow, the couple flew survey flights together. Although Lindbergh remained in the news, he was not always happy or popular. The highly publicized kidnapping and murder of the first of their six children, Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., prompted him and Anne to move to Europe for privacy and the safety of their second child. While there, Lindbergh toured German aircraft factories at the request of the United States government and developed an admiration for the Germans. When he returned home, he supported America First, an organization that called for non-intervention in World War II and for which he was criticized. However, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he served as a test pilot and engaged in combat missions.
In 1953, Lindbergh published an autobiography entitled The Spirit of St. Louis. An October 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that the film rights to the work, which was being offered for $1,000,000 and rigid script control, interested several production companies, among them, Goldwyn, Twentieth Century-Fox, King Vidor Productions and Columbia. In March 1954, a Los Angeles Times news item announced that Warner Bros. had purchased the rights and planned for Leland Hayward to produce and Billy Wilder to write and direct the script.
The film was shot between July 1955 and March 1956. According to a modern source, the script was shot in reverse order, allowing the Paris sequence, which was set in May, to be filmed in summer. According to a February 1956 Hollywood Reporter "Here and Now" column, portions of the film were shot on location at Platt Ranch in Canoga Park, CA, and a November 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item added the Santa Monica airport as a location site. A December 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that the troupe spent four weeks on location at Santa Maria, CA. An October 1955 New York Times news item announced location shooting on a runway of the Flushing, NY airport and outside the Woolworth Building on Broadway in New York City. In February 1957, a New York Times news item noted that some scenes were shot on location in Santa Ana, CA. In addition, New York Times and Hollywood Reporter news items reported that aerial shots were filmed over Long Island; Boston; Nova Scotia; Newfoundland; Greenland; Cherbourg and Le Havre, France; Killarney, Ireland; and Spain. According to studio production notes, Le Bourget airfield was recreated at Guyancourt near Versailles, France.
Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Hollywood Reporter news items add the following actors to the cast: Josh Weiner, Bartlett Robinson, Creighton Hale, Joan Lee and Charlotte Portnoy. According to a New York Times news item, the film marked the screen acting debut of playwright Marc Connelly, who portrayed "Father Hussman." An April 1957 Los Angeles Mirror article reported that prop master Herbert Plews used three "fly wranglers" to collect the 4,200 flies used to portray "Jasper" in fourteen pages of script.
According to a February 1956 HR news item, Harlan A. Gurney, who served as technical advisor for the flying circus sequence, was a former barnstormer and associate of Lindbergh, and was a United Airline pilot at the time of the film's production. Stewart, although more than twice the age that Lindbergh had been in 1927, had piloted B-17s and B-24s during World War II, and was in the Air Force reserve at the time of the film. He watched newsreels of Lindbergh to learn his mannerisms, according to a January 1956 Los Angeles Herald Express article, and appears with uncharacteristic blonde hair, like Lindbergh's, in the film. A February 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Lindbergh visited the studio to review scenes, and a February 1957 New York Times news item, stated that Lindbergh, Stewart and Gurney did some stunt flying. Producer Hayward, a former airline executive and talent agent, was also an amateur pilot.
According to studio production notes, Paul Mantz reconstructed Lindbergh's plane, which had already been acquired by the Smithsonian Institution, using original Ryan blueprints, adding copies of the pilot's wicker seat and periscope arrangement. According to a modern source, three replicas were used in the film. One of the planes was later owned by Stewart and donated by him to the Henry Ford Museum in 1959. For his work on the film, Louis Lichtenfield was nominated for an Academy Award for Special Effects, but lost to Walter Rossi in The Enemy Below.
Noting the long shooting time and costly location work, reviews reported that Warner Bros. spent $6 million in the making of The Spirit of St. Louis, which was atypical among films made by Wilder, who was known for his wry humor and often biting satire that explored the darker side of human nature. Despite the Hollywood Reporter review's prediction that "exhibitor prospects for good grosses...are excellent," the film was one of the studio's biggest financial failures in its history. A February 1957 Time article reported that the studio polled sneak preview audience members and learned that people under forty years of age were unaware of Lindbergh and his accomplishments. According to a March 1957 Motion Picture Herald article, the studio recruited Tab Hunter, who did not appear in the film but was popular with young audiences, to make a twelve-city tour, speaking at high schools and colleges on behalf of the film.
Before his death from cancer in 1974, Lindbergh became an advocate of the rocketry experiments of Robert Goddard, and co-developed a pump that became a predecessor of the artificial heart. In his later years, according to modern sources, he was dedicated to the preservation of the environment, wildlife and native peoples. However, his biggest achievement was the flight he took on a rainy day, May 20, 1927, after which he became one of the most famous pilots in the history of aviation.
On the seventy-fifth anniversary of Lindbergh's flight in May 2002, Erik Lindbergh, who is a commercial pilot and flight instructor, recreated his grandfather's flight in a Lancair Columbia 300, dubbed "The New Spirit of St. Louis." The flight was made to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis, from which he suffered for fifteen years, and also to promote the X Prize Foundation, a St. Louis-based non-profit offering $10,000,000 to the first private group to successfully build and launch a manned spacecraft.
Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1957 National Board of Review.
Released in United States Spring April 1957
Shot between August 1955 and March 1956.
Released in United States Spring April 1957