Air Force (3-Feb-1943)
Director: Howard Hawks
Writer: Dudley Nichols
Music by: Franz Waxman
Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Keywords: Action/Adventure, WWII
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Review by Daniel Miller (posted on 17-Aug-2007)
This is a movie of great significance for it's time. It is generally considered the best movie about the B-17. It actually is about the Mary Ann and it's crew. The actual Mary Ann was 'lent out' to Warner Brothers just for this movie.
The story's beginning introduces the crew of the Mary Ann and establishes the differences between them. Of course, joining the crew are two new members, however, one of them has a past history with the captain of the Mary Ann which makes for a curious situation. The obvious key member is Pappy, played wonderfully by Harry Carey, Sr. As he says.."my job is to keep this plane flying" and you see him execute that statement through out even when personal tragedy occurs; a scene that breaks your heart yet inspires. All in one scene.
The intention of this movie is clear. It was one of those that was intended to uplift the American citizen's spirit as we were directly in the middle of World War Two. And this movie does just that. This B-17 group takes off for Honolulu from stateside. As they get closer, they monitor what turns out to be the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Because they are not armed they must find secondary landing points. Eventually, they get the chance to fly over Ford Island and see all the damage. It is compelling. Many other exciting events happen.
Now, I loved this movie and it is hard for me to find any fault. The only thing that was disappointing to me were the landing and take-off shots. They were done with models and artificial trees, bushes, etc. Now, these were great effects, very believable. But, I sort of thought they could have used stock shots of B-17s landing or simply shot a few of the Mary Ann itself from different angles so to have the actual B-17 landing or taking off. Actually, just a small annoyance.
The real strength is the script. It moves right along, great mix of drama and humor and revealing interludes between crew members. The movie is paced very well for a slightly long but very enjoyable movie.
All in all, whether or not you're war movie fan, you will find this movie hard to not watch straight through even bypassing the kitchen and bathroom. It's that good
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