Hostile Hostages – Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines – tape 2073

A couple of movies now. First there’s Hostile Hostages, a comedy with Denis Leary, Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey.

First surprise – it appears to be a Christmas film, which I’d forgotten from the first time I watched it.

The screenplay is by Richard Lagravanese and Marie Weiss. Lagravanese also wrote The Fisher King.

There’s an uncredited BD Wong playing marriage counsellor Dr Wong, in a session with Davis and Spacey.

BD Wong

Also appearing, JK Simmons as an officer at a military school.

JK Simmons

Leary plays a burglar whose heist goes wrong, sparking a huge manhunt by the local, rather inexperienced, volunteer police force. To escape, he kidnaps Davis and Spacey and forces them to drive him to their home.

But they’re expecting Spacey’s family, including sister Christine Baranski

Christine Baranski

and mother Glynis Johns.

Glynis Johns

Dinner looks like it would be unbearable even without a kidnapper at the table.

Family Dinner

But in the end, it all works out OK, and everyone learns important life lessons.

After this, recording switches to BBC1 on Boxing Day, with the end of Children’s BBC, and a trailer for Beethoven.

Then, Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. Starting with a montage of old attempts at flight, and then some lovely animated titles designed by Ronald Searle.

Magnificent Titles

There’s Willy Rushton in a small role. These films are filled with great British actors (with the odd American put in there for overseas sales).

Willy Rushton

John Le Mesurier as a French Painter.

John Le Mesurier

Tony Hancock

Tony Hancock

Eric Sykes

Eric Sykes

Benny Hill

Benny Hill

God, I love 60s-era blue screen.

Blue Screen

This film is the kind of film that thinks it’s very funny, but isn’t really. It so far seems to only have one joke, that of an aeroplane being flown badly, or dangerously, and crashing into things. Plus all the characters are awful, with the possible exception of Sarah Miles, the daughter of the newspaper tycoon (Robert Morley) who offers the prize for the London to Paris race. She desperately wants to fly, but he won’t let her.

Sarah Miles and Robert Morley

Stuart Whitman seems to spend this entire movie standing on or hanging from one part of a plane or other.

Stuart Whitman

Was it ever common to hyphenate ‘today’?


Here’s Jeremy Lloyd, writer of Are You Being Served

Jeremy Lloyd

One of the stars is Terry-Thomas, who spends the whole film sabotaging the other pilots’ planes. I wonder if Dick Dastardly was based on this character?


Flora Robson, typecast as a nun.

Flora Robson

BBC Genome: BBC One – 26th December 1995 – 10:45

There’s a trailer for Boxing Day programmes.

Boxing Day on BBC1

Then, the news, with Justin Webb. Bad weather is the main news.

After this, there’s a trailer for Ghost. Then there’s the start of Neighbours, and the recording stops.


  • Lynx Systeme
  • No7
  • Halls
  • Woolworths
  • Martini
  • trail: Mrs Doubtfire


  1. Witness the ending designed to not put off Americans or Brits with James Fox winning the race but Stuart Whitman riding off with Sarah Miles. As fun as Ron Goodwin’s music is, I refused to join in with when Goodwin urged the audience to the clap along with the theme at a film music concert he and others gave in the 90s. “Somewhere out there’s page 6….”

  2. Dick Dastardly and Wacky Races was inspired by Jack Lemmon and The Great Race, which oddly enough was released within months of Those Magnificent Men. I wonder who had the idea first? They would have been in production at the same time.

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