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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on May 4, 2004
1965 was the year of the big screen action race comedies with lots of stars, grand costumes, lavish sets and authentic classic vehicles. "The Great Race" a 1910 auto race from New York to Paris and the "Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines" a 1910 International Aircraft race from London to Paris.
What makes this 1965 Action Comedy so Grand is the attention to detail by Director Ken Annakin who had 6 replica flying machines built by real aero - engineers from the original blue prints and specifications. The accuracy of these replicants even proved the critical pilot weight limitations. They had to even substitute a female stunt pilot to fly the French mono - wing because the original pilot was a very small man. Now available for the first time on a spectacular panoramic 2.20:1 Aspect ratio. (Anamorphic WideScreen DVD (automatically adjusts picture to viewing tv size) with Dolby Surround Sound.) NOTE: THIS IS A FANTASTIC MOVIE TO WATCH ON WIDESCREEN 16:9 HDTV!!!!!
This film is 138 minutes and has many extras which include very detailed information and the history regarding all the 1910 vintage aircraft used in the film.
With an All-star 1960's International cast; Stuart Whitman, Sarah Miles, James Fox, Robert Morley, Red Skelton, Gert Frobe, Jean-Pierre Cassal, Benny Hill, Alberto Sordi and Terry Thomas.
This is a magnificent movie and the ingenuity and comedy of 1910 flight is a delight to watch on the BIG SCREEN. Enjoy.
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on May 6, 2004
This was yet another in a series of big-budget comedies that were so stuffed that had to include an intermission. (This 138 minute film has an intermission at the 79 minute mark, followed by a 6-minute Entr'acte, so that the second act is only 52 minutes.) It's also possibly the best one, along with IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD, but where IAMMMMW was at times overlong and peopled with nasty characters, you can care about the people in TMMITFM. It's funnier-with much broader comedy than the other, and a careful sense of time and place. There are a few laggy romantic bIts, but Those Magnificent Men is a fine film well served by 20th Century Fox. Well recommended.
Jamie Teller
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on March 27, 2004
This is truly a marvelous DVD transfer of the classic 1965 comedy that the whole family can enjoy. The image is breathtakingly sharp, capturing the amazing aerial photography of the classic early planes, the elaborate aerodrome set, and the delightful costume design; the sound, too, is top-notch, with the classic score and title tune bouncing along merrily. But what will keep you coming back is the laugh-out-loud comedy; sure, it's all based on stereotypes for each nationality, but some good-natured ribbing could help these days. Besides, funny is funny, and this movie is very, very funny, with riotous performances from Gert Frobe, Jean-Pierre Cassel and Terry-Thomas. You should try to see this on as big a screen as possible; pure cinematic joy!
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on March 3, 2004
A magnificent comedy. Even fans of newer comedies with Sandler, Carrey, Stiller, and others should still find this older classic amusing. The cast includes :

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
Irina Demick ... Brigitte/Ingrid/Marlene/Françoise/Yvette/Betty
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
Gordon Jackson ... McDougal
Davy Kaye ... Jean
John Le Mesurier ... French Painter
Jeremy Lloyd ... Lieutnant Parsons
Zena Marshall ... Countess Sophia Ponticelli
Millicent Martin ... Hostess
Eric Pohlmann ... Italian Mayor
Marjorie Rhodes ... Maid
Norman Rossington ... Fire Chief
William Rushton ... Tremayne Gascoyne
Graham Stark ... Fireman
Jimmy Thompson ... Photographer
Michael Trubshawe ... Niven
Tony Hancock ... Harry Popperwell
James Robertson Justice ... Narrator
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Member of the French team
Maurice Dunster ... French Policeman
Fred Emney ... Colonel
Nigel Kingsley ... Youngest Child of Ponticelli
Ferdy Mayne ... French Official
Nicholas Smith ... Fireman
Ronnie Stevens ... Journalist
Gerald Campion ... Fireman
Cicely Courtneidge ... Colonel's Wife
Even though Red Skelton's roles are small, one as caveman trying to fly, and other similar skits add to the overall appeal of the movie. Benny Hill plays the role of a Keystone Cop style Fireman. It is a good deal of these small roles and some hysterical bits by the larger roles that make this so appealing. Add in a love story with Stuart Whittman and you have a great movie. Any fan of the sixties comedies should grab this and "The Great Race" for some light hearted entertainment.
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on March 26, 2004
Finally! The 20th Century-Fox 1965 roadshow extravaganza comes to DVD. The movie looks marvelous in what must be a transfer from a restored 70mm print. On my 16X9 HDTV in progressive scan the images are quite stunning for a film of this vintage. The Dolby Digital 5.0 remastering of the original 6-track magnetic soundtrack is also a joy to the ears. This is an old-fashioned entertainment for the entire family. Thanks to its presentation on this new DVD the movie is once again a grand experience. The extras are extensive for such a moderately priced DVD too. Director Ken Annakin provides an interesting commentary track and appears in a new featurette. Somebody at Fox definately loves this movie, one that is a childhood favorite of mine. I saw it in its original release, and also in a 1969 reissue as part of a double feature with Fox's "Planet of the Apes." "The Perfect Mates" the ads said, "Apes and Men." Studios just don't don't do things like that anymore. Anyway, this DVD is a joy!
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on March 4, 2004
Other than being a great movie about early aircraft -- which have a tremendous charm of their own -- and being a very funny movie, this movie really is about national stereotypes. There is the American who's a cowboy, the German who's regimented and military (and Goldfinger, no less), the Italian who sings as he flies, the French who aren't particularly fastidious about details....and on and on. The word stereotype has become stereotyped, itself, as some sort of evil thing at this point in our history. However, in 1965 when this was a "road show" (you needed reserved seats purchased ahead of time to see it) and shown in deluxe Cinerama venues it was a very unique enterprise. The comedy was IN the pitting of these stereotypes against each other in nationalistic but good-natured fun. As far as that issue (stereotyping) is concerned, this movie shows us that the pendulum has swung way too far in the "other" direction and we all take ourselves way too seriously. I think that's what the movie is about (today) and the scenery, the vistas, and the ancient aircraft are the props around which this comedy of nationalities plays itself out.
A unique sort of fun -- not unlike "It's a Mad Mad World..." or "The Great Race" all of which were created around the same time. I will be pleased to view it in DVD splendor in widescreen format and surround. It's an old friend that I haven't visited for a long time.
PS: the first time I saw it was in Germany (dubbed in German) which gave it an even more interesting perspective.
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on February 28, 2004
"Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" delivers non-stop entertainment from beginning to end. The accomplishment of delivering entertainment bang for bucks resulted in impressive turnstile activity for this highly unique international aviation spoof when it debuted in 1965. It became one of the year's top grossers.
International director Ken Annakin spun an ingenious script with Jack Davies, resulting in an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The film generates entertainment on several levels, 1) as an aviation spectacle, 2) as a hilarious spoof, 3) as an entertaining love story with a two men and a woman triangle as the men compete in a race, 4) as a clever drama in which another competitor seeks victory through cheating.
Several years prior to this film Annakin won his spurs as a master of international spectacle with his masterful direction of the toughest battle sequences of Darryl F. Zanuck's "The Longest Day" about the D-Day invasion of 1944. This time the story centers around a bold stroke by newspaper publisher Robert Morley to win favor through offering 10 thousand pounds to the winner of a London to France airplane race over the English Channel. The fact that this occurs in 1910, the early days of aviation, gives the film an interesting twist. The movie is well worth viewing for the inventive aviation sequences alone, culminating with spectacular shots of the British and French countrysides.
Stuart Whitman and James Fox have more incentive than winning the lucrative first prize money. They vie for the affections of Sylvia Miles, engaging in numerous strategy gambits along the way.
A director whose filmmaking activities took him to countless nations and every continent, Annakin had the right credentials to present a clever spoof in which the national identity characteristics of the competitors representing the many countries involved are satirized in a manner that is constantly humorous and never mean-spirited. The German team is shown demonstrating maximum scientific precision while France's aggregation displays interest in dalliances with beautiful women along with fine wine and cuisine.
Terry-Thomas is in sidesplitting top form as a cheating competitor determined to win at all costs. In that this is a comedic spoof rather than serious drama, his antics are more akin to those of a naughty but still delightful boy rather than a sinister heavy. Again, the premium is on having a good time, carrying humor to its zenith.
Comedy master Red Skelton entertains in a cameo appearance, while Annakin and Davies create an interesting situation for Irina Demick as the versatile actress tackles no less than seven roles. As such she becomes a female equivalent to British male stars Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers in the domain of multiple role challenges. Another comedy great is also showcased prior to his long television reign, the incomparable Benny Hill.
The Annakin-Davies team succeeds in one of the most challenging domains, creating a spoof in which many comedic and scenic balls are tossed in the air. To their credit, not one of the balls is dropped as the story twists provide consistent interest and the comedy remains perpetually enriching.
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on October 21, 2013
One of the most funny aviation movies ever made. The year is 1910 only 4 years before the first World War it is Incredible to see how humanity was obsessed in making history in flight and how difficult it was for them to tame these primitive flying sculptures, knowing later on in history that these primitive flying sculptures became future killing machines .
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on March 6, 2014
This is a product of it's time. The humor is dated and somewhat silly. But the machines are marvelous. It's hard to imagine that some of them were actual machines, brought out from museums for cameo performances, others were working replicas of real machines. Some of course, were contraptions held aloft by wires. All were models of early flying machines. I especially liked the file footage of early efforts at flight in the very beginning of the video. Red Skelton was at his campy best, pretending to be the pilot of some of these contraptions...clear back to cave-man days. Most of the humor as I said, was dated. Don't watch it for the it for the planes.
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on August 20, 2013
This is a great movie with a brilliant cast. The old flying machines are truly magnificent in and of themselves. The filming is skillful and the scenery is absolutely wonderful. All in all, a really fun movie.
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