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A. Edward Sutherland
William 'Stage' Boyd
Reviewer wmorrow59 above just about covers all the bases for "Young Eagles", but I wanted to touch on the backdrop story he didn't mention. Without giving things away, one of the principals is a German spy assigned to give Paul Lukas safe passage back to the German lines. It adds another dimension, however slight, to the picture. It is sorely needed, because the slim plot can barely hold itself together otherwise.
Unlike WWII, fliers in The Great War observed all the niceties of gentlemanly conduct. In sporting fashion, they would help each other if one were shot down, and in some cases become friends or at least maintain a monotonous cordiality. I don't know if they went to the extreme portrayed here, wherein Buddy Rogers takes Lukas with him to Paris to enjoy one more night of freedom before being shipped off to a POW camp, but the plot hinges on this trip. You know, the spy thing.
The film is somewhat corny and stagey and with the stilted overacting characteristic of the early sound era. Paramount was trying to capitalize on the success of "Wings", which won the first Best Picture Oscar, but this film is only a pale imitation. There are some interesting dogfight sequences, Buddy Rogers and Jean Arthur are appealing, and Paul Lukas seems quite old for his role as a German ace. A good supporting cast helps matters, and I thought the whole production was good enough for a rating of six.
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