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Flight Command (1940)

Passed  -  Drama | War  -  27 December 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 374 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 2 critic

A rookie flyer, Ens. Alan Drake, joins the famous Hellcats Squadron right out of flight school in Pensacola. He doesn't make a great first impression when he is forced to ditch his airplane... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: Flight Command (1940)

Flight Command (1940) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ensign Alan Drake
Lorna Gary
Squadron Cmdr. Billy Gary
Paul Kelly ...
Lieut. Cmdr. 'Dusty' Rhodes
Shepperd Strudwick ...
Lieut. Jerry Banning
Lieut. 'Mugger' Martin
Nat Pendleton ...
C.P.O. 'Spike' Knowles
Dick Purcell ...
Lieut. 'Stichy' Payne
William Tannen ...
Lieut. Freddy Townsend
William Stelling ...
Lieut. Bush
Stanley Smith ...
Lieut. Frost
Addison Richards ...
Vice Admiral
Donald Douglas ...
1st Duty Officer
2nd Duty Officer
Forbes Murray ...


A rookie flyer, Ens. Alan Drake, joins the famous Hellcats Squadron right out of flight school in Pensacola. He doesn't make a great first impression when he is forced to ditch his airplane and parachute to safety when he arrives at the base but is unable to land due to heavy fog. On his first day on the job, his poor shooting skills results in the Hellcats losing an air combat competition. His fellow pilots accept him anyways but they think he's crossed the line when they erroneously conclude that while their CO Billy Gray is away, Drake has an affair with his wife Lorna. Drake is now an outcast and is prepared to resign from the Navy but his extreme heroism in saving Billy Gray's life turns things around. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 December 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flight Command  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The squadron is based at Naval Air Station North Island, which still exists today in San Diego, CA. See more »


Wires are clearly visible on most of the miniature aircraft. See more »


Featured in The Miracle of Sound (1940) See more »


Eyes of the Fleet
Music and Lyrics by J.V. McElduff, Lieut. Comdr. U.S.N.
Played as part of the score
See more »

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User Reviews

great effects for 1940
10 July 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Robert Taylor plays a flier assigned to the famous "Hell Cats" in "Flight Command" from 1940. Taylor plays Alan Drake, who excitedly joins the Hell Cats and then realizes he has a lot to learn from his commander, Billy Gary (Walter Pidgeon) - Alan met Lorna when he landed off-course en route to join the Hell Cats. Though he feels left out by the guys, he finds acceptance at a party given at Gary's house by Gary and his wife Lorna (Ruth Hussey) and blends in well. He helps Gary's brother-in-law Jerry (Shepperd Strudwick) with a device he's working on that allows one to fly in the fog; unfortunately, Jerry is killed testing the device, leaving his sister Lorna devastated.

While Billy is out of town, Alan does what he can to cheer Lorna up. She starts to fall for him, and in a panic, she leaves Billy. The Hell Cats assume that Alan was having an affair with her and turn on him.

Pretty routine with some wonderful flying sequences and some lovely performances, particularly from Pidgeon and Hussey. Strudwick, a young man here, was a Broadway actor who went on to continue on Broadway and also prime time television and soap operas, best remembered as Victor Lord in One Life to Live. He gives an energetic performance.

Taylor is handsome and debonair and does a good job as Alan. He was a solid actor, not given to introspection, and capable of better work than he was often given. He loved being at MGM, took the pathetic money the studio gave him (he was supposedly the lowest paid contract player in history), and played whatever parts he was handed. The parts got better after the war. We lost so many of these leading men way too young, thanks to the habit of smoking. Taylor was a three-pack-a-day man who died at the age of 57.

Pretty good, nice performances, great effects for 1940.

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