David Knights' Weblog

April 25, 2019

Lydia Litvyak

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 4:43 pm
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Sometimes you just find yourself wandering around the internet.  I was doing so and ended up researching Lydia Litvyak.  I knew about her before, but hadn’t realized that a couple of German aces were among her victims.

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April 24, 2019

N9M crash

Filed under: General,Modeling — dknights @ 4:30 pm
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The only remaining example in the world of an Northrop N9M crashed recently destroying the aircraft.  This brings up a position that I have held for some time, namely that if an aircraft is the only example of its type existing in the world, then it shouldn’t be flown, even if it is in flyable condition.  I’ve had debates with other aviation enthusiasts who feel differently, but to me the risk of losing such unique items outweighs the joy of seeing them in flight.  Thoughts?

February 20, 2019

A great story

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:08 am
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This is doing it right.  Great story.

More here.

February 19, 2019

Movie review: The Great Race (1965)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 12:01 pm
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The Great Race is a slapstick comedy and is an obvious homage to slapstick comedies of the silent era. It is loosely based on the actual 1908 New York to Paris race. The films stars Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon and Natalie Wood, with supporting performances by Peter Falk and Keenan Wynn.  The film is notable in several respects.  First, when it was filmed in 1964, it had the largest budget ever for a comedy, over $12M.  Additionally, though comedies are usually shorter in length than dramas, this film clocks in at 2 hours and 40 minutes.  Make no mistake, this is a slapstick comedy, and has many funny moments.  Its length hurts it, as the film drags in the third act.  Director Blake Edwards (of Pink Panther fame) could have used a good film editor.  30 minutes could have been cut out of the film with little loss.

Natalie Wood is gorgeous, possibly as pretty as she’s ever appeared on film.  She does an admirable acting job in the film, pulling off her comedy bits quite well.  However, in real life, her life was a mess, just having gotten divorced from Robert Wagner.  She reportedly did not want to make this film, and at the end of post production work, she made a half-hearted suicide attempt.

While this movie is by no means, high art, it is worth seeing once, if only to see part of the incredible range that Jack Lemon had.  Here he did slapstick very well, while today he is probably best known for his dramatic roles.  Also, of Kentucky interest, parts of the film (mostly at the beginning) were filmed near Frankfort, Kentucky.

Two and a half out of Five stars.

February 14, 2019

USS Hornet CV-8

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 7:29 pm
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The wreckage of the Hornet has been located.  This is good news.  Some of the photos released so far are very interesting.

 

February 11, 2019

Movie review: They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 4:01 pm
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Wow.  Just wow.

OK, now let me tell you why you must go see this, and go see it while it is in theaters.  Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame (and Wingnut Wings fame for all of us modelers) was approached by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in 2013/14 to take all their archival footage and recorded interviews and do a documentary on the Great War.  He was given no specific theme, just access to all the resources and a request to do something innovative.  Boy did he.

Through the use of groundbreaking digital technologies, some of which they had to invent for this film, Jackson and his crew at Wingnut Films (yes, that is the company’s name) put together a restored and colorized version of these old films that gives real life and impact to them.  It is hard to explain how groundbreaking this film is.  Just go see it.  See it on the big screen.  The song over the end credits is great and if you stay after the credits you can watch the 20 minute documentary on the making of the film, you’ll appreciate it even more.  It will leave you even more impressed and really will make you want to hang out and have a beer with Peter Jackson.

GO SEE THIS FILM.  Needless to say, 5 stars!

US nuclear strategy in the 60s

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 10:48 am
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An interesting article on the change-over in US nuclear strategy in the early 1960s from one of first strike to one of measured escalation. (h/t to Jeff “Inch High” Groves for the pointer)

February 9, 2019

As California slides back into the middle ages

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 9:54 am
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Story here.  May I suggest lots of cats?

February 2, 2019

Movie review: Viva Zapata! (1952)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 9:45 pm
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Was able to catch this on TCM recently.  Normally, I would not have been interested in the film, but I’ve been listening to Mike Duncan’s Revolutions Podcast series on the Mexican Revolution.  Frankly, I am not sure I would have understood what was going on in the movie without it.  It is the story of Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary and land reformer.

Marlon Brando stars as Zapata.  I was never a fan of Brando’s acting style, and I particularly don’t thinks it works with him playing a Mexican peasant.  The movie clocks in at 1 hour 53 minutes, and you feel every one of them.  Also, the actual story of the revolution is badly bastardized in the movie.  It was interesting to see, but not something I’d watch again. Two our of Five stars.

January 11, 2019

Canadian Typhoon pilot

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 8:11 am
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Great interview with a Canadian Typhoon pilot. Part 1 and Part 2.

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