LaFayette Escadrille Overview:

LaFayette Escadrille (1958) was a Romance - War Film directed by William A. Wellman and produced by William A. Wellman.

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Quotes from

Jimmy: [repeated line to the American flyers] Good morning, American bum!
Duke Sinclaire: I'm not sure I like being called a "bum"! I've always thought of myself as more of a "tramp".


[the American flyers are driving the French drillmaster crazy]
Duke Sinclaire: We've got him out-witted! Our feet are *killing* him!


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Facts about

William Wellman Jr., the director's son, plays a pilot, Bill Wellman, who is based on his father.
The scene where Thad Walker escorts a U.S. General (played by Paul Fix) to a brothel is based on a real incident from William A. Wellman's wartime experience. During the war, Wellman supposedly encountered General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing in a Paris brothel. Several years later, Pershing came to Hollywood to tour the Paramount Studios, where Wellman was working as a cameraman. When Pershing saw Wellman, who was standing in a line of movie technicians, the general said to him, "I'm sure I know you. Have we met before?" Wanting to protect the general's reputation, Wellman replied, "Yes, but I'd rather not say where, sir." Pershing and Wellman later had a private meeting in a back office at the studio, where they talked about their wartime service. The meeting had a positive effect on Wellman's career, as the studio executives took notice of him. Wellman was promoted to Assistant Director, and from there soon became a full Director.
Director William A. Wellman based the film on his experiences as a combat pilot during World War I. While stationed in France, Wellman joined the French Foreign Legion's Lafayette Flying Corps, N.87, les Chats Noir (Black Cat Group). The plane he flew was Nieuport 24 fighter, which he named "Celia" after his mother. He was credited with three recorded "kills" of enemy aircraft, plus five probable kills. Wellman was shot down in combat and survived the crash, but walked with a limp for the rest of his life. He received the Croix du Guerre for his service. After the war, Wellman returned home and joined the U.S. Army Air Corps for two years, where he taught combat tactics to new pilots at Rockwell Field in San Diego. The main character, Thad Walker (played by Tab Hunter), is based on a fellow pilot who flew with Wellman in the Lafayette Escadrille.
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Also released in 1958




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