A lot has been said about what the producers of "Flyboys" got wrong, but if you look closely at the details, they got a LOT right. I'm speaking of little things - the pilots taking hammers up with them to beat on the gun breeches when they jammed, the pilots loading their own ammo so that they could check for bent cartridges, the cut and color of the uniforms, the gunnery training, etc.
the quiet little scene in which Thenault and "Rawlings" do a memorial for two of their dead comrades was based on an actual Lafayette escadrille memorial. The speech that "Rawlings" reads from "Cassidy" was taken almost verbatim from the real note left by Lafayette Escadrille member James McConnell. Thenault standing before the two Nieuports draped with wreath gave that scene an extra touch of realism.
The character "Cassidy" was based largely on Raoul Lufberry. You can see traces of that in the fact that he was battle-hardened, revenge driven ace, as well as the fact that he was the only pilot that got along with "Whiskey", the lion.
As Clyde pointed out, the LE actually had not one, but TWO lion cubs - "Whiskey" and "Soda". They did indeed acquire "whiskey" first, and Lufberry trained him to pounce (harmlessly) on unsuspecting French soldiers that would come visiting the airfield, much as he did to "Rawlings" in the movie. That must have scared the bejeezus out of them!
The the rich Harvard drop-out that was sent off to war by his father(don't remember his name), reminded me a lot of Elliot Springs, in that he came from money, dropped out of Harvard and had a very rocky relationship with his father. His death in the movie (i won't give away how he died) is, I would say, the scene that gripped me the most. I have read about that happening to so many airmen, but to see an actual depcition on-screen of that happening really tugged at my soul. Ironically, that is how Lufberry persished, although he opted to jump rather than use the gun.
the scene where "Rawlings" is fighting the "crossed swords" guy. "Rawlings'" guns jam and the "crossed swords" guy falls in behind him with the perfect opportunity to shoot him down. Instead, "crossed swords" pulls up beside "Rawlings", salutes him, and then lets him go. That scene, of course, is based on the actual encounter between Ernst Udet and Gorges Guynemer - only in that case it was the Frenchman who let the German go. My wife turned to me and smiled when that happened in the movie because she recognized instantly where that came from. i was proud of her.
Overall, I was very well pleased and entertained. I'll definitely be buying the DVD when it comes out.
Anyway, I went to the movie the first day it was shown here in Charlotte, and it was worth the money. Very cool aircraft, etc.
Hey Clyde, I'm in Charlotte, too. Saw the movie at Crownpoint last Friday night. Unfortunately there were only about 5 other people in the theater with us. Everyone I've talked to, though, seems to have really liked the movie. I think this one will be a success due to word of mouth.