Abschied von den Wolken

Abschied von den Wolken (English: Farewell to the Clouds) is a 1959 German aviation adventure film directed by Gottfried Reinhardt, written by Georg Hurdalek, based on a story by Ladislas Fodor. The film stars O. W. Fischer, Peter van Eyck, Sonja Ziemann, Horst Frank, Linda Christian and Paul Dahlke.

Abschied von den Wolken
Abschied von den Wolken.jpg
Directed byGottfried Reinhardt
Produced byArtur Brauner
Written byGeorg Hurdalek
StarringO. W. Fischer
Peter van Eyck
Sonja Ziemann
Linda Christian
Music byWerner Eisbrenner
CinematographyKlaus von Rautenfeld
Edited byKurt Zeunert
Distributed byOmnia Deutsche Film Export
Release date
  • 5 November 1959 (1959-11-05)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryWest Germany

Abschied von den Wolken was an example of the disaster film, coming soon after the international success of William Wellman's The High and Mighty (1954) where individual stories of passengers and crew were central to the dilemma of an aircraft in trouble.[1] In the film, film historian Bertil Skogsberg described the scenario aboard an airliner: "The passengers are of various nationalities and dispositions: a revolutionary general fleeing his country with most of its cash, an old Nazi, and a Dutch adventurer, to name only a few. There is also a beautiful stewardess (Sonja Ziemann)."[2]

When marketed in the United States, the film was renamed Rebel Flight to Cuba [3]


Leaving the island of San Quinto [N 1], marked by revolutionary struggles, soldier-of-fortune Peter von Houten (O. W. Fischer) barely escapes a firing squad. He is pardoned and is to be deported on a scheduled flight en route from Mexico City to Bermuda. The San Quinto military government, however, forces the airliner down in an unscheduled stop.

Inside the aircraft, Captain Pink Roberti (Peter van Eyck) and his copilot Richard Marschall (Horst Frank) are both in love with the stewardess Carla (Sonja Ziemann). In a hijacking attempt of the airliner to Caracas, Roberti is shot and van Houten manages to disarm the attackers but the aircraft landing gear is damaged.

Ultimately, with the copilot unable to successfully master the approach to Bermuda, van Houten, a former pilot, takes charge. He lands safely after a breakneck approach, bringing in the airliner in a belly landing, saving the lives of passengers, although the aircraft is seriously damaged. The co-pilot dies in the exploding aircraft.


As seen in Abschied von den Wolken, a Handley Page Hermes IV.


Despite being a low-budget film, Abschied von den Wolken used at least one real aircraft, seen in stock footage. Flying for the fictional "Aerovias Internationales", a Handley Page HP. 81 Hermes had the registration "DN-947". The Hermes IV was filmed at Berlin Tempelhof Airport, where the British Skyways of London operated.[4]

A scale model of the Hermes was used for aerial views. Other scenes included a Vickers Viscount take-off and the engines and the landing gear of a Douglas DC-4, a type that resembled the Hermes. A scale model of a Fouga Magister was used to depict a San Quinto military aircraft.[4] Interiors were shot at the Spandau Studios with sets designed by the art directors Paul Markwitz and Heinrich Weidemann.

Using his connections to Hollywood, director Gottfried Reinhardt managed to have Abschied von den Wolken released in the United States. The English-language version was re-titled Rebel Flight to Cuba.[3]


Film historian and critic Ephraim Katz wrote in the International Film Encyclopedia (1990), "O.W. Fischer as a jack-of-all-trades and unshaven friend of humanity aboard an airliner threatened by storms, criminals and technical catastrophes. Staged according to common patterns, the bundling of adventurous moments of danger does not contribute to the credibility of the story."[5]

The review in Der Spiegel noted, "Gottfried Reinhardt's attempt with this flyer film in the still unexplored regions of the thrill of German film manufacturers, ends early in simple film cinema. The director used long-worn tension effects (hurricane and abdominal landing, childbirth, jealousy and gun beating aboard), but even more so than the chassis clamped book (Georg Hurdalek) and directing. Only the stubble bearded O. W. Fischer loosely gives, in his Peter Voss role. (CCC)."[6]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ San Quinto was a fictional locale.[4]


  1. ^ Bergfelder 2006, pp. 110–111.
  2. ^ Skogsberg 1987, p. 41.
  3. ^ a b Bergfelder 2006, p. 111.
  4. ^ a b c Santoir, Christian. "SOS Landing gear damaged: 'Abschied von den Wolken' (1959)." Aeromovies. Retrieved: 26 May 2019.
  5. ^ Katz, 1990.
  6. ^ "New in Germany: 'Farewell to the Clouds'." Der Spiegel, 47, November 18, 1959. Retrieved: 26 May 2019.


  • Bergfelder, Timothy. International Adventures: German Popular Cinema and European Co-Productions in the 1960s. New York: Berghahn Books, 2006. ISBN 1-57181-538-4.
  • Katz, Ephraim. International Film Encyclopedia. London: Collins Reference, 1990. ISBN 978-0-06092-027-2.
  • Skogsberg, Bertil. Wings on the Screen: A Pictorial History of Air Movies. London: Tantivy Press, 1987. ISBN 0-498-02495-4.

External linksEdit