Saturday, November 10, 2007
Flyboys is a 2006 drama film set during World War I, starring James Franco, Martin Henderson, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker, David Ellison and Tyler Labine. It was directed by Tony Bill and written by David S. Ward, based on an original screenplay by Phil Sears and Blake Evans
The film follows the enlistment, training and aerial combat service of a group of young Americans who volunteer to become fighter pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille, the 124th air squadron formed by the French in 1916. The squadron consisted entirely of American volunteers who wanted to fly biplanes and fight in the First World War during the early years when the United States remained neutral.
The film was shot on location in the United Kingdom in Spring 2005 . The trench scenes were shot in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the same location used for Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan. The airfield and aerial shots were filmed on and above RAF Halton (near Aylesbury) where hangers, mess rooms and officers quarters were built adjacent to Splash Covert woods. All were removed when filming ended.
The film was financed privately outside the standard Hollywood studio circuit by a group of filmmakers and investors, including producer Dean Devlin and pilot David Ellison, son of Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison; both spent more than $60 million of their own money to make and market Flyboys.
The Nieuport 17s featured in the film were built by Airdrome Aeroplanes, an aircraft company based outside of Kansas City, Missouri.
A group of young Americans go to France, for different personal reasons, and volunteer to fight in the French Air Service, the Aéronautique militaire, during World War I prior to America's entrance into the war. During the training period, the film mostly follows their personalities and developments; later, the focus shifts to the art of the aerial dogfight. Themes of revenge and love are also explored. The film ends with an explanation of what happened to each character, as the movie was based on real occurrences.
This film has been widely criticized for its lack of historical accuracy, anachronisms, and prochronisms. Various major details of World War 1 fighter aircraft technology shown in the film were highly inaccurate, even beyond typical Hollywood standards of accuracy. For example, the aircraft engines in the CGI scenes are pictured as not moving. The rotary engines used in early aircraft rotated along with the propeller at the same speed. The anti-aircraft artillery shown in use by the Germans was not of any type used by any side in the First World War, and those that did exist were not nearly as accurate as that shown. In reality, had any of the portrayed flak burst as close as it appeared in the film, the aircraft would have been most likely destroyed.[citations needed] One major point of contention in the film is the wide usage of Fokker Dr.I triplanes. Not only was the Dr.I not in usage at the time the film supposedly took place, when it was used it was not in such a large role, nor was it regularly painted red.In the film, the RMS Aquitania is depicted as a luxury liner, however, in early 1914 she was converted to use as an armed merchant cruiser, and by 1915 had been put into use as a troop transport ship and painted with dazzle style camouflage. Also, one scene describes the Germans as using a new 9mm caliber "Spandau" machine gun, even though no German machine gun was ever produced in 9mm, but rather in 7.92mm.