Unjustly booted out of the cavalry, Mike McComb strikes out for Nevada, and deciding never to be used again, ruthlessly works his way up to becoming one of the most powerful silver magnates... See full summary »
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>
The airfield is right next to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, you can see the barracks and the "grinder" in some of the shots. The site of Dutch Flats is on the other side of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and was named Lindberg Field - San Diego Municipal Airport. See more »
The yellow biplane trainers are Naval Aircraft Factory N3Ns. In one sequence Flynn taxis out in a big-tailed N3N-1 and takes off in a smaller tailed N3N-3 (also different landing gear struts.) Additionally, the "N3N" stunt flying is done in a civilian Travel Air painted yellow. 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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