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The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)

Cast: James Stewart, Murray Hamilton, Patricia Smith, more...
Director: Billy Wilder
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Classics, Classic Action/Adventure
Running Time: 135 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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A misfire for all concerned, The Spirit of St. Louis can be chalked up as a courageous failure. At age 48, James Stewart was far too old to be convincing as 27-year-old "Lone Eagle" Charles Lindbergh. Director Billy Wilder, a past master of cynical pessimism, was clearly the wrong choice to helm this paean to ingenuous optimism. And the CinemaScope process was totally inappropriate for the claustrophobic nature of the film's storyline. Even so, this retelling of Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic has its moments, especially during the main character's flashbacks to the events leading up to his history-making achievement. Reportedly, James Stewart was uncharacteristically sullen and uncomfotable throughout the filming, which as it turned out was wholly appropriate for his portrayal of the equally taciturn Charles Lindbergh. An excellent musical score by Franz Waxman helps smooth over the lumpier portions of the narrative. Though Spirit of St. Louis was a box-office failure, both James Stewart and Billy Wilder rapidly recovered with, respectively, Night Passage and Love in the Afternoon. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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© 2006 All Media Guide, LLC. Portions of content provided by All Movie Guide®, a trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.