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An aircraft carrier is sent on a decoy mission around the Pacific, with orders to avoid combat, thus lulling Japanese alertness before the battle of Midway. All the men have their individual worries and concerns, but become increasingly frustrated at their avoidance of combat, for reasons unknown to them. But in the end, all get their chance to fight. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Erskine Caldwell and Norman Reilly Raine were the screenwriters of the early period when it was known as "Torpedo Squadron 8" and was going to be an historically factual and biographical account of Torpedo Squadron 8 and Ensign George Gay. However, the studio changed the picture's direction to a more fictionalized account. As such, it is not known to what extent their work on this movie remained in the final shooting script. See more »
The movie shows the torpedo planes attacking the Japanese carriers and sinking them with virtually no losses. In the actual battle, most of the torpedo planes were shot down without inflicting any damage on the Japanese fleet. See more »
If you want to see the actual story of the battle of Midway than definitely see the film that came out in the Seventies. If you can fast forward through the fictional plot involving Charlton Heston and his family problems you will see a very good documentary about the battle and how close run it was.
Wing and a Prayer came out two years after and there were restrictions placed on the details, probably due to the fact that one of the reasons we won it was because we had broken the Japanese naval code. Still some of the restrictions were a bit ridiculous.
Whose idea was it to cast Sir Cedric Hardwicke as an American Admiral, presumably the Chief of Naval Operations who gave us an overview of the film we were about to see in a prologue. The Chief of Naval Operations at that time was one Ernest J. King who was a rather profane man given to using universally understood words in his normal conversations. He must have had one good laugh at the very prim and proper Cedric Hardwicke playing him, in on a pass from the Royal Navy.
The aircraft carrier where the story takes place is unnamed, but I think we can assume it's the Enterprise. In charge is Admiral Charles Bickford playing most probably Raymond Spruance who had tactical command of the task force at Midway.
The plot of Wing and a Prayer centers around a conflict between Dana Andrews head of a torpedo squadron assigned to the carrier and Don Ameche, a stern by the book Naval commander in charge of the airplanes and their crews. Ameche and Andrews have conflicts similar to what Ameche had with Tyrone Power in films like In Old Chicago. If Power hadn't been in the Marines at the time serving in the real war in the Pacific, I'm sure he would have had Andrews's part.
The usual wartime clichés and characters abound in Wing and a Prayer. One unusual part is that played by William Eythe, a Hollywood actor enlisted in the service and who's one of Andrews's pilots. This might have been Darryl F. Zanuck's idea of a tribute to his main star who as I said was actually serving.
Wing and a Prayer is not a bad film, but with Midway out there it's just not the best film on the subject.
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