|The Hindenburg (1975)|
Directed by: Robert Wise
|Cast: George C. Scott, Anne Bancroft and William Atherton||page about The Hindenburg|
|Studio(s): - Universal Studios Hollywood|
|Universal Studios Hollywood: Stage 12|
|Universal Studios Hollywood: The movie features extensive matte paintings by Albert Whitlock. A model of the Hindenburg airship was built for film which was over 25 feet in length and was flown in front of a backdrop. Matte paintings of the airship based on photographs of the model were also used.|
Studio and special effects work was carried out at Sound Stage 12 in the Universal Studios complex. Wise's research was used to advantage since the bulk of Zeppelin blueprints were destroyed in World War II. Using photographs, a recreated passenger area, gondola and superstructure of the giant airship was constructed to create a realistic exterior and interior set for the actors. A team of 80 artists and technicians working double shifts for four months, assembled a "giant erector set" consisting of eight tons of aluminum, 11,000 yards of muslin, 24,000 ft of sash cord and 2,000,000 rivets.
The Hindenburg made extensive use of matte paintings to bring the Zeppelin to life, in addition to a highly-detailed 25-foot long miniature which was "flown" via an elaborate setup where the stationary model was photographed by a mobile platform consisting of a camera and dolly on a track on Universal Studios largest and tallest sound stage, Stage 12. The miniature of the Hindenburg today is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
A real-life tragedy nearly happened during the filming of the Hindenburg's fiery death. A full-scale section of the Zeppelin's nose was built for the film on Universal Studios' Stage 12, and was set to be destroyed by fire for the film's final destruction sequence. A half-dozen stunt artists wearing fire-retardant gear were placed in the nose replica as it was set afire; however, the fire quickly got out of control, causing several stunt artists to get lost in the smoke, damaging several cameras filming the action, and nearly destroyed the sound stage. Some of the footage from this sequence was used in the final cut of the film, but the full sequence, as it had been planned, was not included.