February 24, 2017


Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines – 1965 | 136 mins | Comedy | Colour


Plot Synopsis

Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines

Fast-moving but overlong madcap family favourite about an Edwardian air race between London and Paris. The fabulous aerial romp boasts handsome cinematography from Christopher Challis, crisp dialogue, wonderful planes, and an all-star cast of national stereotypes including Terry-Thomas dastardly Victorian villain, James Fox stiff upper-lipped Brit, a delightfully stuffy Robert Morley, Benny Hills Keystone Cop fire-officer, Tony Hancock, downtrodden Eric Sykes and regimented Gert Frobe. Director Ken Annakin would release a wacky all-star follow-up four years later; Monte Carlo or Bust (1969), with Victorian schemer Terry-Thomas returning as the son of his character in this film.

Set in 1910, several eccentric and imaginative inventors aim to boost the fledgling sport of flying, and win the 10,000 prize, by taking part in a London to Paris air race sponsored by wealthy newspaper mogul Lord Rawnsley (Robert Morley). The contestants are barnstormer Orvil Newton (Stuart Whitman) from America, Royal Navy lieutenant Richard Mays (James Fox) and villainous Sir Percival Ware-Armitage (Terry-Thomas) from England, an amorous Frenchman (Jean-Pierre Cassel), a fanatical German (Gert Frobe), an Italian count (Alberto Sordi) and an inscrutable Japanese military pilot, spend their time preparing for the race across the English Channel race by indulging in comic shenanigans, double crosses and romance.

Production Team

Ken Annakin: Director
Christopher Challis: Cinematography
Osbert Lancaster: Costume Design
Anne V Coates: Film Editing
Gordon Stone: Film Editing
Stuart Freeborn: Makeup Department
Barbara Ritchie: Makeup Department
WT Partleton: Makeup Department
Biddy Chrystal: Makeup Department
Ron Goodwin: Original Music
Stan Margulies: Producer
Thomas N Morahan: Production Design
Ken Annakin: Script
Jack Davies: Script
Jonathan Bates: Sound Department
Gordon K McCallum: Sound Department
John W Mitchell: Sound Department


Stuart Whitman: Orvil Newton
Sarah Miles: Patricia Rawnsley
James Fox: Richard Mays
Alberto Sordi: Count Emilio Ponticelli
Robert Morley: Lord Rawnsley
Gert Fröbe: Colonel Manfred von Holstein
Jean-Pierre Cassel: Pierre Dubois
Eric Sykes: Courtney
Red Skelton: Neanderthal Man
Terry-Thomas: Sir Percy Ware-Armitage
Benny Hill: Fire Chief Perkins
Yûjirô Ishihara: Yamamoto
Flora Robson: Mother Superior
Karl Michael Vogler: Captain Rumpelstoss
Sam Wanamaker: George Gruber
Eric Barker: French Postman
Maurice Denham: Trawler Skipper
Fred Emney: Colonel
Gordon Jackson: MacDougal
Davy Kaye: Jean
John Le Mesurier: French Painter
Jeremy Lloyd: Lieutnant Parsons
Millicent Martin: Hostess
Eric Pohlmann: Italian Mayor
Norman Rossington: Fire Chief
William Rushton: Tremayne Gascoyne
Graham Stark: Fireman
Michael Trubshawe: Niven
Tony Hancock: Harry Popperwell
Cicely Courtneidge: Colonel\’s Wife
Ronnie Stevens: Journalist
James Robertson Justice: Narrator

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