Antoine de Saint Exupéry
The Films made from his books

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www.saint-exupery.org

in French language 

 

 

 
The years between 1930-1940 were very impressive for aviation . It was something new , spectacular that triggered the imagination of people . Cinema was also new but film production especially in USA was going on rapidly . There was already a star system and much money and profit for this business . Hollywood very early asked for aviation scenarios and the books of  Exupéry were already there . The writer considered becoming a 'scenario' producer which would further boost its image as a writer ...adding some extra money to his rather empty pockets  .It is not widely known that much of this work did go to the movies while some other reached the very threshold of the large screen

The first film to be shot in Hollywood was the famous WIND , SAND and STARS , a more commercial film title for his  original Night Flight . It was in 1933 that Clark Gable and John Barrymore , wearing the full airman gear  animated the days of  Aeropostale , Toulouse , Dorat etc. . The film does not seem to exist today in any copy , it was not successful , but Exupéry did become more known . As a result in 1934 the perfume producer trade mark of Guerlain circulated one product with the title : 'Night Flight' . The little perfume bottle was decorated with aircraft propellers !

The book written from the scenario of the film 

The original book of the Night Flight that inspired the Wind , Sand and Stars

ANNE-MARIE was a romantic scenario already published by the writer who proposed it for the movies to Tristan Bernard sun of the old-timer actor Sara Bernard. In 1935  the film , released in France becomes popular and the writer sells now more copies of his book 

Short documentaries were also of importance to the new air companies like Air France and their publicity . They  asked  Exupéry to produce the scenario for such films . They were the A WEEKEND TO ALGIER and the SOUTH ATLANTIC  in 1935-36 .

 

 The writer always wished to bring on the large screen as a big movie his SOUTH COURIER book . In 1937 he is helped by Air France that offers technical stuff and 2 planes (Late-28) . Exupéry is there to supervise and participate into all details although not appearing himself . The first of this film takes place in Paris at the Marignan cinema

 

 An enthusiastic Hungarian film director Alexander Kodra living in London approached  Exupéry for a new aviation film . The writer was willing to help but the decisions for the cast produced many troubles . The film was almost abandoned to revive however in 1940 under the title CONQUEST OF THE AIR .

 

Between 1936-40 there were a number of other scenarios that for a reason or another failed to become movies , like the one for his Adventure to Saigon and another 2 that followed the same story named  Igor and Sonia as the presumably heroes of this aviation story . The moment of glory seemed to arrive  with TERRE DES HOMMES ( THE LAND OF PEOPLE ) . The French director Jean Renoir takes the initiative to animate the full book on the large screen but Hollywood producers do not agree finally on the proper desert scenery and other technicalities . The effort is abandoned but the scenario is still alive together with the voice recordings of the writer and was published by the editor Gallimard in 1999 .

 

 

 

 

RECENT FILMS

THE WINGS OF COURAGE

The most important recent film from Exupéry , presently available on VHS , was the one narrating the South Courier days and especially the adventure with the crash landing of H.Guillaume on the Andes . It was shot by the SONY pictures  in 3-D effects in 1995 directed by the French American Jean-Jacques Annaud , in Canada . Intentionally it is a B/W film !
 

Visit the : http://www.loewscineplex.com/imax/wings2.html for more on this film


Main actors were Tom Hulce ( Mozart ) as Exupéry and Craig Scheffer as Guillaume .Val Kilmer (Top Gun) is playing  the role of a 3rd man in the group , which should actually be the famous aviator Jean Mermoz . It is really the most spectacular film ever made for Exupéry 


The VHS tape cover of the 'WINGS OF COURAGE'


The heroes of WINGS OF COURAGE . They personify from left to right : Mermoz,Guillaume , his wife & Exupéry

 

THE LAST MISSION

The French TV-film for the TF1 channel produced for his 50th anniversary La derniere mission , the last mission ,  is an exceptional one in that the historical facts were totally respected . Main actor Bernard Giraudeau  played in a most natural way the writer and aviator and the scenery around was totally realistic including the small dispersal at Orcont and the P-38 aircraft color and markings . As produced by French people it had to be a good one for their most famous poet and aviator but they still need to be praised for their detailed work . It is also the only one devoted to the writer himself and not to themes out of his books 

Bernard Giraudeau in the middle as Ant. Exupéry in "The Last Mission"

 


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