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Air and Space - World War I

Page history last edited by Mary Kate du Laney 11 years, 6 months ago

Project Title:  Hollywood Knights of the Sky

Media Category: Video Programs

Museum/ Institution: Smithsonian Air & Space

Program Created:  unknown (at least 10 years ago)

Program URL (if available):  Museum link: http://www.nasm.si.edu/ no link for program 

 

Project Image(s) and/or Video

 

 

Media Source(s)/Credit(s):

Photos by MKdL

 

 

Program Description: (150-250 words)

"Hollywood Knights of the Sky" is a video production located in the Great War in the Air exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.  The short film is narrated by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and chronicles the depiction of World War I flying aces by Hollywood from silent films to the era of World War II.  Each film is discussed in terms of Hollywood stars, film-making technique, and historical accuracy, or lack thereof.  The films have clips shown focusing on stunts and emotional reaction of the actors.  The film is located in a separate theater room, designed to look like an actual movie theater on the outside, complete with ticket window and promotional posters.  The film is subtitled below the screen in small, green lettering.  The screen itself is not very large, but is surrounded by curtains designed to give it in authentic feel.  The movie theater is located under a model of the Red Baron's plane and is one of the first things one sees when entering the exhibit.

 

 

Firsthand or secondary review/critique: (150-250 words) 

Personally, I think this video installation is a wonderfully educational and entertaining piece at Air & Space.  Unfortunately, not many people watched the last few times I was in the museum, and many do not stay for the entire film.  Children, particularly, do not seem overly interested or excited about the video production.  It seems to be more aimed at old film buffs who happen to be interested in history, rather than seeking to encourage new fans.  For example, I have seen quite a few of the films included as a result of old-film nights with family and friends (and my mother, a TCM diehard fan, had seen all of them).  In fairness, it is difficult for any video installation in the museum to compete with the grandeur and wonder of the Albert Einstein Planetarium and Lockheed Martin IMAX theater.  In regards to enhancing the overall exhibit experience, the film does an excellent job of clarifying American views of World War I and offers insight into the ever-increasing role of Hollywood in swaying public opinion regards American military efforts.  The only technical critique I have is that the subtitling was very small below the screen, and did not always match closely with the actual audio.  Since I did not "need" these, it was not a major problem for me, but anyone who had been relying on them would have been perturbed, I would think, that the text rarely synced with the film clips included.

 

Technologies incorporated:

motion picture with audio and captioning 

 

Internally or externally produced:

internally

 

Entry Contributor and Date: 

Mary Kate du Laney, 28 February 2011

 

Related projects:  

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