Starring – James Stewart (Charles Lindbergh), Murray Hamilton (Harlan A. “Bud” Gurney), Patricia Smith (Mirror Girl).
Released – April, 1957
Directed By – Billy Wilder
Produced By – Leland Hayward Productions, Warner Brothers, Billy Wilder Productions
Distributed By – Warner Brothers
Description – Charles A. “Slim” Lindbergh flies mail across the country for a living. A dangerous living. During a winter run, the site of his landing in Chicago is closed due to the weather. Running out of fuel, he is forced to bail out.
Charles recovers as much of the mail as he can from the fallen plane and proceeds by train. On the train he meets a salesman who tells him of the recent deaths of two pilots who were trying to fly nonstop from New York to Paris.
Intrigued by the idea of the nonstop flight across the Atlantic, Lindbergh approaches a group of New York businessmen with the hope of obtaining the money needed to design and produce an airplane capable of the flight. While the businessmen are receptive of his idea, they want to hire their own pilot.
Not wanting this, Charles contacts another company who promises to build him the necessary aircraft in 90 days. The completed, bare-bones plane, dubbed The Spirit of St. Louis, is flown by Lindbergh from St. Louis to New York to prepare for the transatlantic flight.
This flight will not be easy as Lindbergh must deal with a stalled engine, ice on his wings, a malfunctioning compass that requires Lindbergh to navigate by the stars, and the shear exhaustion that will result in his falling asleep at the controls.
This ambitious and great achievement just may cost him his life.
NOTABLE: Originally, a box office flop The spirit of St. Louis has grown in popularity with the passing of time.
Producer Jack L. Warner was strongly opposed to the casting of James Stewart, which he believed caused the film to flop on its release in 1957. Warner felt a young and less well-known actor was needed to play Lindbergh.
The real Charles A. Lindbergh wanted Anthony Perkins for the role.
One of the replicas of “The Spirit of St. Louis” is displayed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Another is at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.