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Air Force (1943) Poster

(1943)

Trivia

The real "Mary-Ann" was used on a tour to promote the film, then assigned to Hobbs Army Air Field in New Mexico. Some time in 1943 it was flown to Amarillo Army Air Field, where, according to a newspaper article, it was taken off flight status the next day, and assigned to ground school.
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The sabotage by Japanese-Americans in Hawaii, as shown in the movie, never actually happened. Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor there were rumors that the attack was preceded and / or followed by acts of sabotage by Japanese-Americans who were actually Japanese agents, but subsequent investigations showed that the rumors were all false,.
Aerial scenes were filmed in Texas and Florida because airplanes appearing to be Japanese were not allowed on the west coast due to a fear of Japanese invasion.
An uncredited William Faulkner wrote the emotional death bed scene for the pilot of the "Mary-Ann".
Because of the constant noise in the planes air crews wore "throat mics". These had two pickups that sat against the larynx (vocal cords) and picked the sound up directly from them. You will notice that whenever a crew member speaks he puts his hand up against the mic and presses it against his throat. This helped ensure good sound pickup.
The U.S. Army Air Forces aircraft that appeared in the film were:
  • Ten Boeing B-17C/D Flying Fortresses from Hendrick Field, Sebring, Florida.
  • North American AT-6 Texans (as Japanese fighters) and Bell P-39 Airacobras, Curtiss P-40Cs and Republic P-43A Lancers from Drew Field.
  • Six Martin B-26C Marauders from McDill Field, Tampa, Florida, as the Japanese bombers.
In the scene on Wake Island where a Marine hands the dog to Assistant Crew Chief Weinberg (George Tobias), a voice can be heard telling the dog to give Weinberg a kiss. The voice was from the dog's owner and trainer, Frank Weatherwax. The dog, named Rommy, had appeared in numerous other movies including Reap the Wild Wind (1942), George Washington Slept Here (1942) and Without Love (1945).
Actual newsreel footage was expertly inserted into the film, including scenes from the Battle of the Coral Sea.
One of the top three money makers for Warner Brothers in 1943.
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Some of the enemy aircraft in the movie are P-43 Lancers. These aircraft belonged to the 55th Fighter Squadron which was stationed at Drew Field when the movie was being filmed. The 55th was at Drew Fld training pilots and support personnel to form new combat units at the start of WW II. Later after several moves the 55th as part of the 20th Fighter Group transfered to England to carry out combat operations there.
The aircraft used to play "Mary-Ann" was a B-17B, one of 19 that had the gunners' bubbles replaced by the flush gun positions of the B-17C and B-17D. This aircraft MAY have been aircraft 38-583 or possibly 39-010. Also, aircraft "18" in the movie is 38-269. Pause the scenes where John Ridgely has walked in front of the daytime flight line with numbers "18" and "05" in the back ground, and, as he is talking to the crew in the bomb bay, look through the gap between the bomb bay door and the fuselage: as you pause and forward frame-by-frame, you will see the tail of "18" just barely enough to see the numbers "8269" showing! This means that aircraft "18" is actually B-17B 38-269.
The aircraft that played the parts of Zeros in the film were actually Republic P-43A Lancers.
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Approximately 25 minutes into the film, when they are attempting to contact Hickam Field in Hawaii, the co-pilot in one of the bombers is wearing a leather jacket that has an embroidered patch on his left chest depicting Mickey Mouse riding a bomb. This is similar to a real patch from the 329th Bomb Squadron, 93rd Bomb Group.
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This film was shot at Drew Field, Tampa, Florida, USA, in August 1942.
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These B-17Bs had the old-style tail section; later modifications beefed up the section that corrected its structural deficiencies..
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As the plane approaches Hawaii the radio man tunes in to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Winocki jokingly asks if the radio man was tuned in to Orson Welles. This was a reference to the infamous radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, a fictional story that was made by Welles to sound like a real broadcast of an invasion from Mars.
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This move was produced during the war and was meant to be a morale booster, not a documentary. As a result, there are numerous incidents shown in the movie that are not 100% accurate, but these things should not be considered "goofs" as Hollywood was doing the best it could to support the war effort.
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Henry Blair is in studio records/casting call lists playing "Quincannon's Son" and he's called Michael in the film, but he does not appear.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The only members of "Mary-Ann" killed during the film were both kissed good-bye at the beginning of the movie: John Ridgely ("The Pilot") by his wife and Ray Montgomery ("Assistant Radio Operator) by his mother. Also, these are the only crew members to have someone "see them off" at the beginning of their mission.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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