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Monday, August 27, 2018

‘Wolf Hound’ scenes filmed in Suffolk skies

      The film crew arrived in Suffolk in August to capture aerial footage for the World War II action movie “Wolf Hound,” which is currently in principal photography. Mechanics, pilots and four genuine warplanes from the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach were fueled and ready to take flight so the crew could capture every maneuver.
     Director Michael B. Chait explained that the surrounding Suffolk landscape was ideal for a skirmish in Nazi-occupied France circa 1944. The wooded area as well as the historic aircraft provided the perfect backdrop for the film.
     “Wolf Hound” takes place in the course of a single day in 1944 France. An Allied pilot is escorting a B-17 bomber into Nazi territory and engages a Nazi aircraft. The dogfight cripples both aircraft, and the pilots parachute into the forest below where their cat-and-mouse game continues.
     The museum provided three warbirds for filming earlier this month: a Hawker Hurricane, MK-1XE Supermarine Spitfire and the P-51 Mustang dubbed “Double Trouble Two.” Chief Pilot Mike Spalding flew the P-51 with Maslow in the seat behind him to capture Maslow’s character flying with camera shots of him inside the cockpit.
     Military Aviation Museum Pilot John Mazza, whose call sign is “Pappy”, was flying the Spitfire between 150 to 200 knots for aerial shots of engagement moves. He said he was smiling ear-to-ear in the cockpit. When asked how the plane handled, he quoted the late Geoffrey Wellum, a veteran of the Royal Air Force during World War II who piloted a Spitfire extensively in the Battle of Britain.
    “You can’t fly a Spitfire and forget about it; it stays with you,’” Mazza said inside the Spitfire cockpit, quoting Wellum. “Now I’ll give you a Pappy quote: you haven’t flown until you’ve flown a Spitfire. It’s the most graceful, maneuverable plane.”
     Robert Dickson Jr. who is a caretaker of history, flew a P-51 Mustang he owns with his father called “Swamp Fox.” This plane underwent complete restoration for five years before the Dicksons purchased it in 2012.
     Most of the Military Aviation Museum pilots that flew for the film have been airborne since they were just children and all of them were encouraged by Chait and his crew’s commitment to authenticity.
     The Military Aviation Museum crew was excited to help bring real World War II planes to movie theaters as opposed to CGI. Chait said he used actual warplanes not just for the audience to enjoy the “excitement and awe-inspiring visuals,” but also to give “the most respectful, regal treatment to the actual veterans.”
     “It’s like a tribute and an homage to them in showing the audience what this was for real,” Chait said. “Using the actual aircraft means a lot to me as a filmmaker, just to give people not only an exciting experience but a much more authentic and meaningful one.”

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