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 ...
See full summary »
This is the story of the crew of a downed bomber, captured after a run over Tokyo, early in the war. Relates the hardships the men endure while in captivity, and their final humiliation: ... See full summary »
The story of Soviet cypher-clerk Igor Gouzenko who was posted to the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa,Canada in 1943 and defected in 1945 to reveal the extent of Soviet espionage activities directed against Canada.
A lad with a penchant for trouble is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Indiana. Though he's not happy about the arrangement at first, his love of horses and his affection for a young ... See full summary »
The story of men at war and that of the esteemed Pulitzer prize winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle. Soon after the U.S. entry into World War II, Pyle joined C Company, 18th Infantry in ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
Inventor Thomas Edison's boyhood is chronicled and shows him as a lad whose early inventions and scientific experiments usually end up causing disastrous results. As a result, the towns ... See full summary »
After a long absence, Mary Jane visits her schoolfriend Eloise, and Eloise's daughter Ramona. Eloise drinks too much and is unhappily married to Lew Wengler. Eloise falls asleep and ... See full summary »
During the Alaska gold rush, prospector George sends partner Sam to Seattle to bring his fiancée but when it turns out that she married another man, Sam returns with a pretty substitute, the hostess of the Henhouse dance hall.
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>
According to the DVD sleeve notes, this film about the Battle of Midway utilized actual combat footage. Years later another film also about "The Battle of Midway, Midway (1976), would also utilize real combat footage, but in color. See more »
Curtiss SB2C Helldivers are shown in use alongside the Grumman TBF Avengers just prior to and during the Midway portions of the film. The Helldiver was not employed at Midway or prior to it. See more »
A strong formula film--characters are set up, and then sent to battle...
Wing and a Prayer (1944)
This is a Navy film made in 1944, set in early 1942. That says a lot to start--it's realistic, but it's also meant for support the troops, support the families back home, and avoid giving the enemy any information that might hurt the U.S. This one is set in the Pacific on an aircraft carrier, so there are both conventional sailors as well as pilots. Much of the movie is about ordinary down time, which builds up the interpersonal stuff, and gives the range of types on the ship--up to a limit (no minorities, for example).
There were a lot of movies made during the war about the war, and most employed a star or two to give them an audience. Here we have Dana Andrews, already a stalwart at this early point in his career, and Don Ameche, who was the bigger name at the time. But what makes the movies distinctive beyond this is always some twist, some specific aspect of the war that gets highlighted. The main one here is the ship is on a special mission to head toward the fringes of Japanese controlled water and give the impression that the U.S. Navy is scared and incompetent.
This makes for a lot of tension after awhile because the men really want to fight, and they are told to turn away. It's an interesting angle (with not a lot of historical truth to it, apparently). But it shows in part how the Navy had highly sophisticated plans that the average Joe couldn't and didn't know about. And so everyone should just be confident, everyone including all the folks watching it on Main Street, far from being able to help or knowing the truth.
The other unique twist is that one of the pilots is an Academy Award Winning actor. It's clear from the first action scene that he's not really competent, but he's cute and popular, gets lots of mail, and he carries his Oscar statuette with him everyone (including on missions). A fun Hollywood twist...and of course, it isn't left alone. All of this, the ruse, the actor, the whole waiting game, is a set up for a spectacular finish.
Trivia notes: There is a 16mm movie shown to the troops during fun time, and it's called "Tin Pan Alley," a 1940 Betty Grable flick with lots of flesh. It's naturally a hit with the men. And it's streamable on Netflix. Naturally I had to watch it...so look for my review of that one, too. Not half bad, but . one of the moments that is a surprise (and a deflection) is when a plane takes off and crashes, and during some of the shots of the rescue there are mistakenly other ships in the distance.
That last 20 minutes is great war film stuff, including a unique section where the action is told only through sound. It's a small but brilliant addition to a strong, somewhat straight forward film.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?