The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
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James Stewart plays transatlantic pilot hero Charles Lindbergh.
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Critic Reviews for The Spirit of St. Louis
It's quite engrossing, with the period trappings lovingly presented.
A haunting recollection of one of the thrilling events of our times has been handsomely staged by Mr. Wilder, and for that you should see the film.
Not one of Billy Wilder's best efforts -- still has some interest because of James Stewart's performance, which is very nearly a one-man show.
Not one of Billy Wilder's strong features, this biopic of the ace flyer is too conventional, lacking the helmer's more characteristic humor, irony, cynicism.
The adventure of the historical making flight was captured, but not its spirit.
Stewart, who was nominated for five best actor Oscars -- his one win was for "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) -- turns in perhaps his most impressive feat.
Lindbergh's biggest dilemma on the flight was trying to stay awake. To a large extent, it's ours, too.
Fascinating, albeit tedious, telling of the Lindbergh flight.
...in the end, the long film becomes almost as tedious as the flight that inspired it.
Loved it as a kid. Might not wear well now.
Audience Reviews for The Spirit of St. Louis
Director Billy Wilder puts on a showcase with this biopic of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. Lindbergh's life, from his humble barnstorming days to his "welcome home" tickertape parade through the streets of New York City (where he was supposedly greeted by 4 million people), is represented through both flashbacks and linear storyline. Lindbergh, of course, was the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris, and in doing so, both cemented his place in history as well as forever changing the way we travel. Wilder employs many great techniques while telling Lindbergh's story, from the aforementioned flashbacks, to giving the audience a chance to listen in on Lindbergh's inner monologue (most particularly effective when Lindbergh is trying to get to sleep the night before the big flight). And it seems so effortless the way it's all blended together, like Wilder got a dose of Bergman before making the film. Jimmy Stewart plays Lindbergh effortlessly, despite being twenty years older than the man he was portraying at the time. Then again, Stewart often plays the same kind of role (not that there's anything wrong with that), so there's little in the way of surprises regarding the Lindbergh character. While this is a Lindbergh biography (somewhat), there's little attention paid to his life post-flight, whether it be his supposed nazi sympathizing or the kidnapping of his child in what was referred to as the "crime of the century", and rightly so. A film entitled "The Spirit of St. Louis" should be about the uplifting triumph of the human spirit over a great challenge, not some tabloid fluff. Stewart and Wilder manage to capture the "spirit" to which these endeavors were made. Good stuff.More
A gripping biopic about Charles Lindbergh's record-breaking non-stop transatlantic flight of 1927. Billy Wilder does not immediately spring to mind as the ideal director for this sort of thing, but he does a solid job on the whole, occasionally injecting some of his trademark humour--sometimes successfully, sometimes not--but generally playing it straight. The success of the film is due in no small part to the ever-excellent James Stewart's infectious, boyish enthusiasm and to Franz Waxman's music, which underscores the tension marvellously. Visually, the film is pretty drab, and it's quite pointlessly photographed in Cinemascope. The portion detailing the flight itself is broken up by superfluous flashbacks, too obviously just a device to create the illusion of time passing. Another dubious device sees Lindbergh conveying his thoughts to us, the viewer, by chatting to a fly trapped in his cockpit! Silly as that undoubtedly is, I can sympathise with the makers' desire to supplement or limit Stewart's voice-over before it got too tedious.More
Billy Wilder's only Bio-Pic and directing of Jimmy Stewart is a nice change of pace. It's not his greatest film,but it is his best looking color film.Based on Lindbergh's autobiography it's about the preparation and flying across the Atlantic Ocean. Stewart Sells this film and Wilder comes up with interesting methods to keep the viewer from being bored. Some of the flashbacks are a little too aw...shucks,but some are really entertaing. Most of the flying footage is real and it looks great. I wish Wilder would have set a more claustrophobic mood ,because the sleep depravity works well .Enjoyable off the beaten path for Wilder and again it looks gorgeous.More
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