Union officer Kerry Bradford escapes from Confederate Prison and is set to Virginia City in Nevada. Once there he finds that the former commander of his prison Vance Irby is planning to send $5 million in gold to save the Confederacy.
Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.
A new flight surgeon and a Navy pilot overcome personal differences to work on solving the problem of Altitude Sickness which causes blackouts at high altitude. The real stars of the film are the pre-World War II navy aircraft featured in full color Written by
Robert Svacha <email@example.com>
This movie functions somewhat as an historical record of the US Navy aircraft carrier the USS Enterprise during World War II, according to the article "A Viewer's Guide to Aviation Movies" by Jack Hardwick and Ed Schnepf in the book 'The Making of the Great Aviation Films'. See more »
In the opening scenes showing pilots manning their planes, several bi-plane fighters are forward of the dive bombers. Later when the dive bombers take off the fighters are not shown taking off before them, nor are they visible on deck. See more »
As a snapshot of the US military on the eve of Pearl Harbor, this has a poignancy that it didn't have on original release. The "Enterprise" has a starring role, just two years before Midway (and incidentally, notice how SMALL the carriers are: I guess jet fighters needed vastly bigger ships).
And look at the aircraft: innumerable biplanes, and the rest of them already obsolete. No combat (- and, in fact, no bombs, which is odd, tho' i guess in 1941 the idea of Americans actually dropping nasty weapons like bombs was still a controversial notion.) Lots of formation flying: (this is Warners, after all, the home of Busby Berkeley!) Almost every outdoor scene has a flight of real aircraft zooming through it: the effect is sumptuous, and makes even "The Battle of Britain" look very small beer. Much credit to Michael Curtiz and crew for stage-managing all this.
There are no real surprises in the plot, though it moves through the clichés at an agreeable pace; nonetheless, it's an interesting commentary on the days when flying was not a "routine" activity.
But the reason to watch this is the photography. This is a Technicolor show-piece. The aerial footage is downright glamorous, and many of the interior scenes are filled with interest (though interior lighting problems are apparent, particularly in Flynn's make-up).
Plot-wise, the focus wanders back and forth from Flynn to MacMurray, which leaves both characters slightly unfinished. Flynn was obviously very difficult for Americans to write for: this actually sounds like Bogart dialogue. Flynn looks embarrassed and diffident throughout(he's very good though, and his voice is beautiful). Alexis Smith is fun; possibly the only interesting twist in the script is that the women are both unredeemed ratbags: the slush component is, hence, lower than it would be once hostilities commenced. Ralph Bellamy is good, doing the transition from "guy who doesn't get the girl" to "gruff character actor".
Modern viewers will laugh at the chain-smoking doctors (especially the one with the heart problem).
Max Steiner's score doesn't grab me particularly, but there are some nifty musical effects during the "blackout" sequences.
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