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Movie Review:The Flyboys Shoots Myths About WW1 Pilots Down in Flames (VIDEO)Review by Tim King Salem-News.com
American pilots, who chose to enter WW1 before the U.S. officially became involved, joined a French Air Service organization called the Lafayette Escadrille. They fought and died and were cherished by France. The movie debuts today.
(SALEM) - A movie set to debut in October called The Flyboys casts these historic pilots in a Top Gun sort of way and reminds the world of one of my ongoing points; that the pilots fighting over France in WW1 were little more than kids, with the early 20’s being the average age.
A few were older. Heck, Germany’s Red Baron, Manfred Von Richtoffen, was 26.
But pizza commercials have you believe he’s an old man with a handlebar moustache. Don’t believe it, these guys were young, though they aged quickly, if they were fortunate. This is a story about dogfighting and these pilots faced skillful Germans in a cold, kill or be killed environment. The trailer gives a person a good taste of what it was like flying a combat plane in 1916 and 1917.
It has been 40-years since Hollywood made a motion picture about World War One aviation. The last was The Blue Max with George Pappard which was a fantastic movie featuring epic flying scenes, a great love story, and Ursula Andres.
The Blue Max, like The Flyboys, seems to lose a few points in terms of historical accuracy.
They also changed the names of the pilots they based their characters on. But there was only one African American pilot in the entire war, and the character in the movie is based on Eugene Bullard. That is good news for the legacy of one of America’s most underrated war heroes.
According to the Afro-American Almanac, Eugene Bullard initially joined the French Foreign Legion, where he earned distinguished honors on the battlefield. He was then selected for pilot training and on May 7th, 1917, becoming the world's first black fighter pilot. As an enlisted pilot, Bullard scored two "kills," but only one of them was confirmed. His second kill, early in November 1917, however, was definite.
When the United Sates entered WW1, Bullard and the other members of the Lafayette Escadrille were encouraged to join the American Air Service. Bullard was right there with everyone, until the Army realized that he was black, and he was rejected from American service because of his race. It was a major blow to a man that France treated with respect and dignity.
Eugene Bullard later got into a fistfight with an officer. He was placed in the French Infantry for the duration of the war.
Just a few weeks ago, I was in Fort Upton, Colorado doing research on the American pilot, Lt. Frank Luke JR., www.frankluke.com who is the subject of a documentary I am working on, when I learned that the Lafayette Escadrille Museum housed many items related to Eugene Bullard as well. Seeing this collection and the wealth of information on Luke that I was searching for with fellow researcher, author Blaine Pardoe, and researcher Jean Armstrong, made my heart jump.
Then just a few weeks ago, I shot and produced a story about the first African American member of the Oregon National Guard to be promoted to General. Wouldn’t you know it, Brigadier General Garry Dean is a fighter pilot. You can catch that story here after you’re done here: salem-news.com/articles/june32006/General_Officer_53106.php So as a researcher/biographer and WW1 aviator documentary producer, I am very excited to see the new movie is coming, and I hate to have to wait until October. You will too after you watch the trailer, breathtaking doesn’t even start to describe it.
Here are the people who created and star in the movie, and the rest of the folks involved in getting it off the ground, so to speak.
Electric Entertainment Production Company Maybe the movie will lead to more on Bullard. He is only one aspect of the story that The Flyboys lays out, but I find it to be of vast importance. In post-war France, Bullard, a national hero, became a successful nightclub owner and popular musician in Paris. He married a countess and became the father of two daughters. His list of friends in Paris was long, and he knew American legends like Louis Armstrong and many others. When World War II erupted, he was a member of the underground and an associate of the famed French spy and resistance leader Cleopatra Terrier. He was severely wounded in July 1940 fighting Nazis in Europe and was evacuated to New York City. But back in the states, he fell into obscurity. Only the French remembered his service, and he was honored in the late 1950’s in a torch lighting ceremony. A year after Bullard’s death in 1961, France’s President Charles De Gaulle internationally embraced him as a French hero.
The Flyboys gives us an opportunity to do the same.
The movie trailer is posted below courtesy of youtube.com. Salem-News.com videos play on 99% of all computers through a flash media system. If you ever encounter a problem, there is a Flash download at the top of the site's video section.
If you want a higher quality version and have a suitable media player installed on your computer, you may want to watch if here for a full screen version: www.flyboysthemovie.com/
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
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With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.
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