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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In Russia, Leningrad engineer Yevgeny Chertovsky designed the first full pressure suit in 1931. In 1933, American Mark Ridge and Scottish physiologist John Scott Haldane built a prototype suit with the assistance of Robert Henry Davis of Siebe Gorman, the inventor of the Davis Escape Set. The suit was tested in a low-pressure chamber to a simulated altitude of 50,000 feet. In 1934, aviator Wiley Post, assisted by Russell S. Colley of the B.F. Goodrich Company, manufactured a practical pressure suit. Post tested the suit at an altitude of 40,000 feet above Chicago and later he reached 50,000 feet. In 1936, Squadron Leader F.R.D. Swain of the Royal Air Force flew a Bristol Type 138 airplane at 49,967 feet wearing a similar suit. In 1937, Italian aviator Mario Pezzi flew in a high-altitude pressure suit. No effective fully mobile pressure suits were produced in World War Two. The research, however, provided the basis for post-World-War-Two development. See more »
When Regis Toomey as Lt. Tim Griffin, USN, comes back into the story as an RAF pilot flying a supposedly Royal Air Force Fighter, it is nothing of the kind. It is an American Ryan STA Trainer with RAF-style camouflage & markings, a covered front cockpit and a cobbled-on radial engine cowl. See more »
The real "stars" of this movie are the actual aircraft the US Navy had in 1940, both old and new. Those aircraft are all in their original markings and complicated paint schemes, during the time the Navy was converting from colorful to subdued colors. Every color was part of a complicated plan to identify each aircrafts place in squadron formations allowing quick identifications of exactly where each aircraft "belongs". All the planes are here, Vought Vindicators, Helldivers, Buffalos, F4Fs, PBY's, and even the little used and known Northrup dive bomber competitor of the Vindicator. The US Navy went all out with massed formations in the air and on the ground, close ups, long shots, all of it the most impressive I've seen on the screen, and every foot of it in living glorious color. No attempt to censor or exclude anything, almost as if the US Navy was saying, "Don't underestimate us".
There is only one thing better than seeing this film on VCR or DVD, and that's seeing it on the large screen as I have thrice in my life. If you find the chance to see it on the large screen, don't miss it.
The frosting on the cake is the stirring and patriotic score by Max Steiner, parts of which show up in his other film classics like Fighter Squadron. This movie may have been made made over sixty years ago, but you'll find yourself ready to go running off to your local Navy recruiter, the effect it must have made on its audiences at the time.
When you view this film try and imagine the actions most of these airplanes were in against the Japanese less than two years later, at places like Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Coral Sea and Midway Island.
Too bad Germany, Japan, Russia, and most of the other warring powers didn't leave a color documentary of their air forces of the time.
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