All right then, what is this American Airlines DC-10 doing in a 1964 movie?

We’ve just been watching the 1964 film Seven Days In May, the story of an attempted military coup against the U.S. government.

At about 1:58:14, there’s an exterior shot of an airliner in 1970’s American Airlines livery, with three engines–one under each of the wings and the third mounted in the tear stabilizer. You know, just like the Douglas DC-10 or Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, except that American never did fly the latter. Being interested in airliners generally I tend to notice these things.

Screenshot 1

Screenshot 2

Remember, these are screenshots from a 1964 movie, years before any widebody jets were to appear. Apart from the type of aircraft, AA was definitely not using that livery in 1964; at the time they still had the red strip along the windows with a sort of lightning bolt flourish near the nose.

What on Earth is going on here? Did someone swap in some different airplane footage years after the fact?

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I don’t have an answer, just a wonder why anyone would bother. I also don’t know anything about planes of that era.

By the way, are you sure about your timestamp for those shots? The whole film is only 1 hour 58 minutes long.

The shot of the DC-10 is at 1:28:30 on the youtube upload

It is indeed weird. Made in 1964, but note that it was set 10 years in the future in 1974. One thought I have is that when 1974 came around maybe they thought there would be some further interest in the film, it being to some extent a “prediction” from 10 years before of the how the world would look in 1974. So maybe they re-released it in 1974, splicing in that bit of real 1974 footage.

ETA: one of the comments on youtube claims that the youtube uploader edited in the footage of the DC-10. If so, quite clever as a kind of easter egg.

Definitely a DC-10, definitely decolorized footage spliced in. Why, I’ve no idea.
I’ve found it on a different site here, and at the same point, the people go straight from an airfield to walking through an airport, with no shots of a plane in flight.

And it makes no sense in or to the plot. The timing is supposed to strongly imply that the two men arrived in that plane, but in the plot they arrived in that military vehicle, and the senator was flying out of that airport.

Stupid uploader.

Definitely 1:58 in the version I watched. Maybe there’s a whole basket of Easter eggs in there.


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Your own link goes to 1:28:32

The time is on the left, you’re looking at the total time on the right.

Now I see it. I thought 1:58 was the elapsed time, not the end time.

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As you note, the livery on the DC-10 in your screenshots is one that was adopted in the late 1960s. This appears to be what an American plane would have looked like in 1964 (the picture is from a Wikipedia article about a 1965 crash of an American 727).

So, that lends even more credence to the thought that the DC-10 footage was added in later by someone.

And this, dear readers, is why I own my own movies and don’t rely on streaming.

We have always [del]been at war with Eastasia[/del] flown DC-10s in the 60s.

That seems to be a lot of work for a scene that goes by in a flash. Next thing you’ll tell me is that someone edited Star Wars to make it look like Greedo shot first.