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Airliner In The Movie "Roman Holiday"  
User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 9397 times:

In the Gregory Peck/Audrey Hepburn classic "Roman Holiday", a short scene about mid-way through the film shows an aircraft on the ground at the airport in Rome. Whatever it is, I have never seen one before. It is such a quick thing, it's hard to get a real good look at it.

It looks like a Constellation, but sits much lower to the ground..twin engined and twin or triple tail. That's all I can give. I have searched all over the web with no luck. At first I thought it was the original design for a DC-4...

What manufacturers were around in Europe at the time (1953) making passenger aircraft?
Did Italy have an aircraft industry at the time?
I thought it might be French...but my searches have turned up nothing.

Any ideas are appreciated, wish I could offer more.


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50 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMakeMinesLAX From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 566 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 9335 times:

One of these, perhaps?

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Günter Grondstein



User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 9275 times:

I've been meaning to ask this very question myself - the scene where all the men in black arrive from the Princess's own country.

In the nose-on shots the windshield looks very Connie like as do the tail fins but it's clearly not a Connie. The windshield layout would seem to rule out the Breuget 793 I think.

Quoting Stirling (Thread starter):
twin engined and twin or triple tail

Are you sure it's a twin ? I remembered it as a quad. Must watch it again tonight   Will try and post a piccie for those interested.

[Edited 2005-07-07 11:43:24]


...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 9204 times:

Quoting MakeMinesLAX (Reply 1):
One of these, perhaps?

No, Unfortunately that is not it. The mystery aircraft is more long and slender looking...very graceful, and not fat and stubby. But I was searching around for other aircraft made by Breguet....

Quoting DH106 (Reply 2):
the scene where all the men in black arrive from the Princess's own country.

Yes that is exactly right! I am glad I'm not the only old-movie buff on here!

Quoting DH106 (Reply 2):
Are you sure it's a twin

That I am not.

Quoting DH106 (Reply 2):
I remembered it as a quad

You know, it could very well be a quad. It was a very quick shot, hard to get a good look.

Quoting DH106 (Reply 2):
Must watch it again tonight

If you could, that would be great! I checked the listings here in the States, and it's not going to be on again for awhile.



My heart cries over the events of what happened in your country this morning. Even if I hadn't spent a lot of time in that neighborhood (Aldgate)last year, it is still a very horrible thing....but more real, and more painful, when it's part of one's own fabric of experience.
A senseless tragedy.



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User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 9179 times:

Quoting Stirling (Reply 3):
If you could, that would be great! I checked the listings here in the States, and it's not going to be on again for awhile.

I have it on DVD  Smile Love that film - call me a feel good softy  Silly

Quoting Stirling (Reply 3):
My heart cries over the events of what happened in your country this morning.

Thanks Stirling - I don't live in London but likewise my heart goes out to those who do and have been affected.



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 5, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 9158 times:

Quoting DH106 (Reply 4):
Thanks Stirling

My username is taken directly from the town of the same just down the M9 from the current G8 summit.
Nonsense about my ancestors....real unimportant right now.

Anyway....

Quoting DH106 (Reply 4):
I have it on DVD

Great! Watch it when you can and let us know.

I am thinking it could be a converted WWII bomber...some were converted into passenger aircraft after the war....But I seem to remember those were mostly tail-draggers and did not have not tricycle landing gear....the aircraft in the movie definitely had tricycle landing gear.



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User currently offlineGr8SlvrFlt From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1608 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 9143 times:

Could it be a SNCASO Bretagne?


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Günter Grondstein
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Günter Grondstein



User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 9133 times:

Quoting Gr8SlvrFlt (Reply 6):
Could it be a SNCASO Bretagne?

Interesting... could be....
Only thing I'll say against is that it possibly looks a little small.



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 8, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 9069 times:

Quoting Gr8SlvrFlt (Reply 6):
Could it be a SNCASO Bretagne?

That is closer than anything I've found! The tail assembly looks very close, as a matter of fact, it's the only part of the aircraft that gets more than a couple of seconds of camera time.
Good Job! Thank you VERY much.

Since I don't own the movie, I can't pause it and see for sure...and the next time it comes on TCM is in September...oh well, I might just have to go and purchase it.



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User currently offlineGr8SlvrFlt From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1608 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 9056 times:

It is a beautiful bird, er oisseau! Notice in the tail view how the wing is shoulder-mounted rather than below the cabin....very interesting. I love the canted endplates as well. BTW, 45 Bretagnes were built and Air France operated them from 1951-1959. They were also operated by Air Algerie and the French military. They carried between 30 & 43 passengers and were the first French airliners with pressurized cabins and tricycle landing gear.

User currently onlineVanguard From Solomon Islands, joined Feb 2004, 106 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 9013 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Airspeed Ambassador perhaps?

User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 8950 times:

Here's 2 admittably poor quality stills:-

Nose view:-

http://www.cv990.demon.co.uk/MysteryPlane/Plane1.jpg

So - definitely 4 engines, and note the 2 small nose wheels unlike the large single nose wheel of the Bretagne in the piccies above. It has twin fins/rudders and large single main wheels. The tailplane has a very slight dihedral
Also note the strange looking many-windowed windshield.


Side view of rear fuz / tail

http://www.cv990.demon.co.uk/MysteryPlane/Plane2.jpg

Note the fins are effectively end plates to the tailplane - there's no small tailplane extensions outboard of the fins as in the Bretagne
The main gear door cutouts indicate that the large single wheels retract backwards but protude somewhat.

The plane definitely has the air of a French late 40's/early 50's design.
Anyone any ideas then ??  Smile



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineExFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 8886 times:

From the front, it looks (except for the twin tail) sort of like a Bristol Brittania, but the side rear view is all wrong.

I'm officially stumped...is it possible it's a prototype of some sort that never sold?


User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 13, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 8859 times:

Excellent job DH106!

I will agree it certainly does have a French Flavor to the design. As if from the same family as the Bretagne....with subtle differences...the tailplane is not canted inward like the Bretagne either.
Notice how low it sits to the ground, especially in the rear.

I wonder if the coat of arms is real, or a product of the movie's design director. Maybe it's a clue, maybe it's not.

I would sure love to know what this girl is. And how the producers of the movie came to use her. It was never shown in flight, so, we can assume all she had to do was taxi past the camera....which maybe gives a clue to an Italian design? Maybe she was sitting unused off in a corner of the Rome airport...and was rented on the cheap? Passenger aircraft were still a somewhat exotic thing in Europe in those days, just 7 years after the war...
Maybe a "proper" aircraft could not be found?

I have looked at designs by Savoia-Marchetti, but nothing matches of yet.

Thanks for all the help gentlemen. There's nothing like a good mystery!



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User currently offlineAvroArrow From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 1045 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 8814 times:

I have no idea other than it is most likely European and it isn't pressurized judging by the nice big square windows and of course the age of the plane. I found these two, neither of which is really that close, but if you take the tail off of this one:
http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/Trempe/1987.htm
and put it on this one:
http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/Visschedijk/2937.htm
You get something close. The first is a SNCASE SE 161 Lanquedoc and the second is a Sud-Est S.E.2010 Armagnac. So perhaps our mystery plane is a development of one of these?



Give me a mile of road and I can take you a mile. Give me a mile of runway and I can show you the world.
User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 8727 times:

What a mystery !  Smile

Quoting Stirling (Reply 13):
Maybe she was sitting unused off in a corner of the Rome airport...

True, but of course there's no guarantee that that brief scene was filmed in Rome. In fact there's a close up shot of the tail immediately before the tail shot above in which a DC-3 with the reg. F-OAIG (I think - slightly blurred) is visible, so perhaps it's in France. No guarantee the DC-3 is on home turf though either. It's a shame no reg. no. is visible on the mystery plane itself.

Quoting AvroArrow (Reply 14):
The first is a SNCASE SE 161 Lanquedoc and the second is a Sud-Est S.E.2010 Armagnac.

Yes - I found these too. There are some good similarities here, the shape of the Lanquedoc's tail especially. I can't believe that any manufacturer could build a 4 engined airliner of this size - even if it's just a prototype like the DC-4E - and there not be some reference or trace of it some where !  Smile
I'll keep digging  Smile



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineMrComet From Ireland, joined Mar 2005, 561 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 8702 times:

There is a possibility that you are seeing two different airplanes which often happens in movies.


The dude abides
User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 8700 times:

Quoting MrComet (Reply 16):
There is a possibility that you are seeing two different airplanes which often happens in movies

That's true - but we haven't been able to match the features in either shot to a specific aircaraft.



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineAvroArrow From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 1045 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8621 times:

I was wondering if it might be 2 different aircraft as well since the thick cross section of the front of the aircraft in the first shot doesn't seem to mesh with the thinner looking tail. However I believe that the similarities in the tail and undercarriage in both shots make it likely to be the same aircraft. If you can find a photo of a Breguet 482, a prototype French WW2 bomber, it has some similar fuselage hallmarks, more bulbous up front and quite narrow by the tail. I think this the mystery plane is probably French, but then again I could be wrong about most of what I have said and found so far.  Smile


Give me a mile of road and I can take you a mile. Give me a mile of runway and I can show you the world.
User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8620 times:

Some slightly better screen grabs:-

Front Shots:

Front View 1
Front View 2

Front views from slightly different angles. Difficult to tell because of the rotational effects of the props, but I think they're 4 bladed props.


Rear Fuz Shot:

Rear Fuz 1

Note the DC-3 reg. F-OAIG (I think) in the background and on the extreme right the first couple of letters of the only visible markings on the plane - I make the top row to be 'BZ' or 'B2' and the letters underneath to be 'MMG' or 'MM6'. Does this mean anything to anyone ? Is one of these rows part of a serial or reg?
And good detail on the coat of arms - but I suppose it's made up. Any coats of arms experts?


Side/Rear Shots:

Side/Rear View 1
Side/Rear View 2

More distant shots of the rear fuz & tail. Note the ventral airstair !!
You can also see the 2 lines of text mentioned above, but not readable here.
Note the DC-3 seems to have vanished  Smile Continuity error !  Silly

Side/Rear View 3

The men in black disembark.
Note how long, thin and spike-like the rear fuz tapers to behind the tailplane.


Well - I've still no clue !!
Best guess is some sort of prototype that never went into production, but there's a lot of info on the net about such types - French and others and I've yet to find anything that comes close.... :-|



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineJustplanesmart From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 722 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 8598 times:

Quoting DH106 (Reply 19):
the letters underneath to be 'MMG' or 'MM6'. Does this mean anything to anyone ?

Italian Military aircraft have registrations beginning with "MM", and most transport types seem to begin with "MM6", but I cannot find any further information about this type.



"So many planes; so little time..."
User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 8595 times:

That's good info - thanks.
Could have been shot in Rome after all !!

[Edited 2005-07-08 13:16:14]


...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineGr8SlvrFlt From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1608 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8547 times:

This one is driving me crazy! It has a Convair-ish look but apparently the film was shot entirely on location in Rome. The wings/engines look like they're from a DC-4 except for the extremely short landing gear. Given the political climate of the time, I doubt it is Russian. That pretty much leaves the French, English and Italians. Could it be some sort of trick photography or special effects? Maybe it's a model?

User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8534 times:

Quoting Gr8SlvrFlt (Reply 22):
Maybe it's a model?

Possible I guess, but why go to all that expense of making a huge model when the hiring of a plane like that for say 1 day max to shoot this scene with no flying required would surely have been less.

My gut feeling is that this is some failed, obscure prototype that perhaps happened to be present in Italy - probably Rome - at the time of shooting and was in reasonably smart & taxiable condition. Less expensive to hire than a 'real' airliner. What do you think?



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 24, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8490 times:

Quoting DH106 (Reply 23):
My gut feeling is that this is some failed, obscure prototype that perhaps happened to be present in Italy - probably Rome - at the time of shooting and was in reasonably smart & taxiable condition. Less expensive to hire than a 'real' airliner. What do you think?

I think that is probably the correct answer.
But what on earth could it be!?

Unfortunately most people that worked on the film are since deceased..I've been checking! Wow.

Stumped.



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25 Post contains links Tjr16698 : Dear all What do you reckon to it being a Breda-Zappata BZ308? check this.. http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/attachment.php?attachmentid=87816 and hal
26 Post contains links Tjr16698 : 1 example built in 1948, carried 80 passengers. Its first flight was 27th August '48 and the pilot was Mario Stoppani. Engines are 4 Bristol Centaurus
27 Post contains images DH106 : Yes I think you have it - well done !! Matches for me !   4 Bladed props as well. For me - this definitely matches. Look at the tail shape. The 'BZ'
28 DH106 : Just checked the net for pictures - apparently it had 5 bladed props !!
29 Backfire : It's definitely the BZ308 - have a hard-copy picture here, with the five-blade props clearly visible.
30 Post contains links Tjr16698 : Incidentally, the plane was the first to inaugurate the new airport at Malpensa in 1948. Photos the following links: http://xoomer.virgilio.it/bancame
31 Post contains images DH106 : Some good piccies there Tjr16698 - thanks So - do we know it's fate ? Broken up at Rome in the 50's/60's sometime ?
32 Post contains links Tjr16698 : Just found this site: http://www.url.it/muvi/mostre/08mostra/mostrasx.htm It's in Italian, but I'll try to give a summary translation below. Apologies
33 Stirling : Smashing good job Russ! Well done! Thank you very much. Breda-Zappata, amazing, in all my years, I've never heard of such a company. But what a simply
34 Post contains links DH106 : Thanks Russ. It's really sad when post war politcs interferes with such great projects. So it ended up derelict in Somalia ? This must have been after
35 Tjr16698 : you're welcome, it's been interesting to dig this info out this afternoon. By the way, it was the first Italian transatlantic aircraft. have a good we
36 Stirling : I wonder if it is still rotting away down in Somalia and if it is, should not someone try to "rescue" it?
37 Post contains links Tjr16698 : Hi Stirling. Just found out from the Italian air force website that unfortunately this beauty was broken up in Somalia in 1954. The forced landing onl
38 Post contains images DH106 : Lovely sleek, elegant shape. Bet it was quite an efficient design for the time - looks aerodynamic. No wonder they weren't 'allowed' to build it !  
39 Trekster : WOW This shows the true power of a.net This was a mystery till half way down the posts. CONGRATS ALL Looks like a nice plane as well btw
40 Stirling : I saw that too....Russ, translation?
41 Dtwclipper : Wanted to say the same thing...this is just outstanding detective work!!!!
42 Post contains images AvroArrow : Tjr16698, you are the man!! Excellent work, and a beautiful aircraft as well. Too bad it didn't meet with more success in its life, though it sounds l
43 Post contains links Tjr16698 : Hi guys Hope you got some sleep last night. Just looked at the photo you mentioned of the broken prop and wheel mentioned above - here's the photo for
44 DH106 : Thanks for the info Russ. Shame this aircraft isn't around anymore - it'd look great in a museum.
45 Tjr16698 : and a final thing - I just noticed that there's an original pic of the Bz on sale on EBay UK by someone called transmil in London. Found this out from
46 Stirling : What price is it at?
47 Tjr16698 : About five pounds I think, didn't really look to be honest. I'm sure a quick search will let you know. I searched e-bay for Breda if I'm not mistaken.
48 Oldeuropean : Yes, she is a beauty! Axel
49 Post contains images DH106 : Anyone going to bid ? Don't want to end up bidding against any of you guys
50 Tjr16698 : No plans to, go for it! cheers Russ
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