Produced by MGM in 'cooperation' with the US Navy, Eyes of the Navy amounts to a prewar (for the US at least; by 1940 England had been at war for a while) recruitment film for young men to ... See full summary »
Produced by MGM in 'cooperation' with the US Navy, Eyes of the Navy amounts to a prewar (for the US at least; by 1940 England had been at war for a while) recruitment film for young men to become Navy fliers. It follows young men from basic flight training through to take-offs and landings on an aircraft carrier. While the work is serious, the film says, it's all a lot of fun with lot's of time off and the chance to visit exotic locales around the world. Patriotic throughout, the film tells of the preparations they are making, just in case they are necessary. Written by
My summary was meant to be cynical. But, by 1940 it appeared pretty obvious to a lot of Americans that our entry into the war was pretty much unavoidable. Sooner or later, we WOULD be in the war. So, the once neutral Hollywood film production machine suddenly began churning out films to bolster the public's perceptions of military life, duty and bravery. Some of the films were comedies and some were dramas or shorts and all were very pro-military and were made with the cooperation of the services.
"Eyes of the Navy" is a documentary short that promotes naval aviation. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Short Subject, Two-reel--perhaps as an endorsement by the Academy for the armed forces (especially since another similar film was also nominated in this category). It shows many different aspects of aviation--such as pilot training, gunnery school, launches of seaplanes from battleships, ground training, carrier landings, airplane production and repair facilities and graduation. The film is chock full of footage--decent and rarely grainy footage. As for the narration, it's earnestly done by Frank Whitbeck. The overall film is quite well done though I am not sure if it really was Oscar-worthy--this is hard to say. But, it did get its point across in an effect and compact manner. And, for military buffs, it certainly is a must-see.
By the way, it's interesting to note that just about all the airplanes being used in this film were pretty much obsolete once the US entered the war a year later. Apart from the Catalina seaplanes, most of the rest of the planes were in the process of being phased out or would soon be phased out (such as the Devastator torpedo bombers). It just shows how rapidly technology changed as a result of war.
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