glenawalker

Movie - WW2 plane crash and crew were ghosts

52 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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My heart genuinely goes out to the frustrated people that have to say again and again that the film was black and white NOT COLOUR, the crew did not know they were dead, neither did the viewer and YET STILL people INSIST it's Sole Survivor! Get a grip! 

I remember the film was made in black and white, the crew had no idea they were dead and neither did we until their bodies were discovered. Even then it took a while to realise why they were fading away BECAUSE there bodies were being found around the crashed aircraft. It was all quit sad when you realised that they had all been ghosts unaware they were dead. Very sad. As each one faded the ones remaining became more and more confused. Even then you had no idea why they were fading until there was a scene that you saw living people say, "There's another one here!" Then it hit you like a brick, and it was all very upsetting. I watched it years ago when I was young and I truly hoped someone would know. looks like the adventure continues, but for all you Sole Survivor people, thanks for your suggestion BUT IT'S THE WRONG BLOODY ONE!!!  

It DID NOT HAVE Bill Shatner,, IT WAS A FULL LENGTH FILM and not a Twilight Zone! When are the Sole Survivor nuts going to get that through their heads?! 

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waynejkC   Thank you for elaborating with even more details about the movie that so many of us remember & are looking for. And, you are quite right..it is extremely frustrating to hear people insist that it's Sole Survivor..when we know absolutely that it is not. And for me, I never even saw Sole Survivor until fairly recently, and my first thought was "Wow..this movie has a similar plot to a black & white movie that I saw back in the 60s..but the black & white movie was creepier, and, by far..much more unsettling". And..the plot difference in Sole Survivor about the crew member who bailed out, lived and became a high ranking officer..actually annoyed me. I thought that plot was stupid, and made the plot of the black & white movie so much better than Sole Survivor. And, another reason for me why the black & white movie we are looking for is not Sole Survivor is....I was a Star Trek fan, and I would definitely have recognized William Shatner in any film that he was in that I viewed.  And so,you are absolutely correct again, waynejkC....William Shatner was no where to be found in the black & white film we are looking for. So, it is ridiculous for people to insist that the movie we are looking for is Sole Survivor. And, there is one more annoying suggestion that people come up with to explain our memories of this film. Many people suggest that we are combining Sole Survivor & Twilight Zone in our minds to come up with this black & white ghost story that no one can find. I NEVER saw Sole Survivor until fairly recently. And, in the Twilight Zone episode they are talking about, the so-called ghosts don't even speak, & the plot isn't the same at all. So, even if I did combine those 2 stories....the plot would definitely NOT.. end up being the same as the black & white movie.  And so fellow "Rememberees"..We must continue our quest & never give up. There is an answer out there somewhere..and I for one intend to find it. 

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This is quite elusive. I spent a fair amount of time looking for it and found nothing which had not already been suggested.

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On 3/18/2018 at 9:06 PM, Thenryb said:

This is quite elusive. I spent a fair amount of time looking for it and found nothing which had not already been suggested.

Thenryb   A couple of people have suggested that the name of this older black & white movie (that no one can locate),  is called Catch 22. However, if this is the case..then our missing movie has been swallowed up by the 1970 movie of the same name..Catch 22. Just like the plot of this older black & white movie has been overshadowed by another 1970 movie called Sole Survivor. So, with a name like Catch 22, that most people recognize as the well known 1970 Catch 22....and a plot like the fairly well known 1970 Sole Survivor..how are we ever going to find it?  Also, the plane is named the Home Run in the Sole Survivor movie..and many people believe that the plane was also named the Home Run in the older black & white missing movie. It would make sense because even though the ghosts play baseball in both Sole Survivor & the missing black & white movie..as I recall, they played baseball a whole lot more in the missing black & white film. In fact, there was a scene when one character kept throwing the ball and the ball kept coming back to him. And..everytime the characters tried to walk away from the crashed aircraft....they would end up back where they started. Thank you for your info.

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There was this movie where the people in it were all dead and they didn't know it, only it was on a ship, not a plane, and it was black and white, and it wasn't just men, and they didn't play baseball.  I think John Garfield was in it, and Barbara Stanwyck, too--no, that was a different movie.  Anyway it was all different kinds of people, and they all had different kinds of things going on with them, and all those things had a meaning, and everything they said was symbolic, only you didn't know it was symbolic, 'cause you didn't know they were dead only I figured out they were dead after like twelve minutes so it was boring and everything they said now sounded symbolic and that made it worse, and I didn't end up watching the whole movie 'cause I knew what was going to happen to them, or most of them.  So I think this is the movie and everyone is misremembering it, and it's a case of mass psychosis, or mass something, I forget which, and that explains why everyone misremembers it the same.

So that's what I think it is, only I don't remember the movie.

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1 hour ago, slaytonf said:

There was this movie where the people in it were all dead and they didn't know it, only it was on a ship, not a plane, and it was black and white, and it wasn't just men, and they didn't play baseball.  I think John Garfield was in it, and Barbara Stanwyck, too--no, that was a different movie.  Anyway it was all different kinds of people, and they all had different kinds of things going on with them, and all those things had a meaning, and everything they said was symbolic, only you didn't know it was symbolic, 'cause you didn't know they were dead only I figured out they were dead after like twelve minutes so it was boring and everything they said now sounded symbolic and that made it worse, and I didn't end up watching the whole movie 'cause I knew what was going to happen to them, or most of them.  So I think this is the movie and everyone is misremembering it, and it's a case of mass psychosis, or mass something, I forget which, and that explains why everyone misremembers it the same.

So that's what I think it is, only I don't remember the movie.

Outward Bound (1930) and Between Two Worlds (1944).

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12 hours ago, slaytonf said:

There was this movie where the people in it were all dead and they didn't know it, only it was on a ship, not a plane, and it was black and white, and it wasn't just men, and they didn't play baseball.  I think John Garfield was in it, and Barbara Stanwyck, too--no, that was a different movie.  Anyway it was all different kinds of people, and they all had different kinds of things going on with them, and all those things had a meaning, and everything they said was symbolic, only you didn't know it was symbolic, 'cause you didn't know they were dead only I figured out they were dead after like twelve minutes so it was boring and everything they said now sounded symbolic and that made it worse, and I didn't end up watching the whole movie 'cause I knew what was going to happen to them, or most of them.  So I think this is the movie and everyone is misremembering it, and it's a case of mass psychosis, or mass something, I forget which, and that explains why everyone misremembers it the same.

So that's what I think it is, only I don't remember the movie.

Night of the Living Dead

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16 hours ago, slaytonf said:

There was this movie where the people in it were all dead and they didn't know it, only it was on a ship, not a plane, and it was black and white, and it wasn't just men, and they didn't play baseball.  I think John Garfield was in it, and Barbara Stanwyck, too--no, that was a different movie.  Anyway it was all different kinds of people, and they all had different kinds of things going on with them, and all those things had a meaning, and everything they said was symbolic, only you didn't know it was symbolic, 'cause you didn't know they were dead only I figured out they were dead after like twelve minutes so it was boring and everything they said now sounded symbolic and that made it worse, and I didn't end up watching the whole movie 'cause I knew what was going to happen to them, or most of them.  So I think this is the movie and everyone is misremembering it, and it's a case of mass psychosis, or mass something, I forget which, and that explains why everyone misremembers it the same.

So that's what I think it is, only I don't remember the movie.

Boy, I sure hope Bruce Willis never reads this, slayton.

(...'cause ya know, he's always felt he did HIS best work in the movie with the kid who's the only one that sees him, and I'm sure he'd hope you at least stuck around to see THAT whole film anyway!!!)

;)

 

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6 hours ago, Dargo said:

Boy, I sure hope Bruce Willis never reads this, slayton.

(...'cause ya know, he's always felt he did HIS best work in the movie with the kid who's the only one that sees him, and I'm sure he'd hope you at least stuck around to see THAT whole film anyway!!!)

;)

 

Never even started watching that one, if it's the one I think it is.

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slaytonf    Go watch the "Berenstain Bears" & eat some "Froot Loops"....You'll feel better!! I always felt better when I watched the Berenstein Bears and ate Fruit Loops!

 

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I just wanted to jump in and confirm that I saw this movie also when I was young, which glenawalker and others have described well. It did exist...

Hopefully this mystery will be solved.

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