Review: ‘The Spirit of St. Louis’

Although lacking the elaborate production trappings that would automatically mirror a multi-million dollar budget, an extensive shooting schedule and painstaking care went into this picture. It's Class A picture-making yet doesn't manage to deliver entertainment wallop out of the story about one man in a single-engine plane over a 3,610-mile route.

Although lacking the elaborate production trappings that would automatically mirror a multi-million dollar budget, an extensive shooting schedule and painstaking care went into this picture. It’s Class A picture-making yet doesn’t manage to deliver entertainment wallop out of the story about one man in a single-engine plane over a 3,610-mile route.

Spirit is a James Stewart one-man show. He portrays Charles Lindbergh with a toned-down performance intended as consistent with the diffident (i.e. non-communicative) nature of the famed aviator. The story development tends to focus on the personal side of the 1927 hero, as much as it does on the flight itself, and Stewart comes off with sort of an appropriate, shy amiability.

The flashback technique is used frequently to convey some of Lindbergh’s background, such as his days as a mail pilot, an amusing bit re his first encounter with the air force, his barnstorming stunts, etc.

1957: Nomination: Best Special Effects

The Spirit of St. Louis

Production

Warner. Director Billy Wilder; Producer Leland Hayward; Screenplay Billy Wilder, Wendell Mayes; Camera Robert Burks, J. Peverell Marley; Editor Arthur P. Schmidt; Music Franz Waxman; Art Director Art Loel

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1957. Running time: 135 MIN.

With

James Stewart Murray Hamilton Patricia Smith Bartlett Robinson

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