glenawalker

Movie - WW2 plane crash and crew were ghosts

10 posts in this topic

I and many other people have been searching in vain for a movie about a war plane that crashed and the crew turned out to be ghosts. We saw it in the late 60’s.  It was in black and white, and likely made in the 50’s or 60’s.

 

The movie is NOT ‘Sole Survivor’ with William Shattner, which had a very similar plot and was released in the early 70’s.

 

The key storyline was:

·        A WW2 bomber crashed in the desert

·        The crew ‘lived’ near the plane and played baseball

·        A rescue team arrived but failed to acknowledge the presence the crew

·        The crew then realised they were dead and were ghosts

·        The ghosts vanished as the bodies were recovered from around the plane

·        One ghost was left behind as his body was not recovered

·        As the rescue crew drove away they found the last body several miles away. The ghost then also vanished

 

Many people have commented on this movie (and Sole Survivor) in an online forum at: www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-20660,00.html

 

Some recollections in relation to the movie title were:

·        name of the plane in the title

·        flight …

·        flight of the …

·        phantom flight …

·        flight 401 …

 

I have thought about the movie for over 40 years because of the emotional impact it had.  It was brilliantly done and the twist at the end was completely unexpected.

 

It would be worth the effort to locate this movie as I’m sure many would pay to see it again.

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This film was based on a true story about a bomber which crashed in the desert of (I believe) Africa - or on the African continent. There is the Twilight Zone episode, of course - but that isn't what your looking for. 

 

This has been researched here on these boards about 5 years ago with ambiguous results in that the poser of the inquiry could not come to a conclusion based on information provided by many of us.

 

I'll see if I can dig up the original threads, but I believe these were before the big makeover of these boards - many posts were archived and are difficult to access. Also, most of the images posted before the makeover have had their links removed.

________________________________

 

Lady Be Good was a USAAF B-24D Liberator that mysteriously disappeared without trace on its first combat mission during World War II. The plane, from 376th Bomb Group, had been on a bombing raid to Naples on April 4, 1943 when it was lost. Although the aircraft was thought to have crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, with the loss of its nine-man crew, it was eventually found 710 km (440 mi) inland in the Libyan Desert in 1958. The remains of all but one of its crew have been recovered.

_________________________

 

 

Related material:

 

http://www.ladybegood.net/

 

 

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The made for TV movie "Sole Survivor" was based on a real lost plane called the "Lady Be Good", which went down in 1943.  There was a 1960 episode of "The Twilight Zone" with Robert Cummings called "King Nine Will Not Return" that was based on that incident.  If you check the Wikipedia article for "Sole Survivor", you will find most of those details that you mentioned, including the baseball playing.  Could it be possible that you've seen both the Twilight Zone episode in the sixties and the 1970 made for TV movie with William Shatner and your mind has combined the two?  Here is the wikipedia link:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sole_Survivor_(1970_film)

 

Now, here is something else.  Before the Twilight Zone episode was aired, earlier in 1960, there was an episode of Armstrong Circle Theater called "Ghost Bomber: The Lady Be Good", and it featured a young George Segal.  It also was a story of what might have happened.  The remains of the real plane had been found in 1958, some fifteen years after the crash, and apparently there was so much speculation about what happened to the crew that both of these 1960 TV dramas were hot topics at the time.

 

Apparently Kid Dabb and I were doing our research at the same time.

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I did dig up some old posts here dating back to 2013, 2008 and 2005. About half the poster's were satisfied that Sole Survivor (1970 TV-movie) was their film. Others not so sure. Many said it was 1950s or 1960s in black and white. There is also the high possibility this color film was shown and/or viewed in black and white in 1970. Many people had yet to purchase color tvs.

 

 

http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/21518-title-of-wwii-bomber-crash-in-desert/&do=findComment&comment=334427

 

http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/45535-wwii-black-and-white-film-of-men-who-are-ghost-and-one-was-left-behind/&do=findComment&comment=910046

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I got caught up in a thread on what I think is a UK website, where a bunch of people were debating this over a period of years.  Half the posts said it was "most certainly" that movie, the other half not.

 

I couldn't find it in any other movies.  It might have been an obscure episode of some forgotten TV program, as some suggest.

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My research data has brought me to the same conclusion(s).

 

So... ditto!

 

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Thank you folks for your responses - I appreciate your time on this.  Unfortunately none of these suggestions are the movie that I and others are looking for.

 

Cheers

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Glen (or Glena?), you would think at least one film buff around here would have seen this one AND remembered it's title. This is an unusual case, to be sure.

 

Good luck!

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Wise words Mr Dabb.  Plenty of people remember the movie as I have but we all don't remember the name.  Someone on another forum has suggested we are actually ghosts and the movie doesn't exist! 

Thanks, Glen

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I recently spent the entire night watching Sole Survivor (the 1970 movie with William Shatner), Twilight Zone: King Nine Will Not Return, Ghost Bomber: The Lady Be Good, and even The Flight of the Phoenix. The Black & White movie (or show), that I watched back in the 60s was none of the aforementioned. It was similar to Sole Survivor; both had a crew from an airplane crashed in the desert. But, there was one huge and startling difference. The men in the black & white movie did not know that they were dead and neither did we, until the creepy, unsettling end of the film. And, the crash had no survivors. In Sole Survivor, one of the crew bailed out, lived, and became a high ranking officer. This was not part of the plot in the black & white movie that I saw. And..the black and white movie and the way it played out was just all around creepier than Sole Survivor, so I hate when people insist that Sole Survivor is the movie we are looking for...because it most definitely is not.  I wish I could find that awesome film that so many remember, including me. I've even been searching through old TV shows trying to find it, such as Alfred Hitchcock, One Step Beyond, Lights Out, old Chiller Theater Movies. It has to be out there somewhere. And, there has to be someone who knows where this film came from, and why we can't find it. Some have suggested that it might be a British made for TV film..even though the plot appears to be taking place in the U.S. Perhaps that could be the reason why the film is so difficult to find. I have been trying to find this film since I saw it in the 60s. Many yrs ago, I used to search the TV Guides to see if it was in the listings because usually films were eventually repeated at some point..but I never saw this film again. It's enough to drive a person crazy.

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