On the day of his retirement, Rear Admiral Jonathan L. Scott reflects on his role in introducing aircraft carriers to the U.S. Navy. After World War I, there was a general downsizing of the military. There were only limited opportunities to create a carrier-bound air capability. The aircraft were not designed specifically for landing on a flat top and several death occur during training. Over the years however, Scott is one of several men who pursue their dream of aircraft carriers and aircraft specifically designed for that purpose. Their worth is proved in World War II at the Battle of Midway and throughout the war. Written by
The technical advisor, Capt. S.G. Mitchell, was commanding officer of the fighter squadron aboard USS Hornet (CV-8) at the Battle of Midway, which is portrayed in the movie. He ran his planes out of fuel, resulting in all ten aircraft lost and two pilots drowned. The Hornet does not appear in this film because the point of view is largely from the Yorktown (CV-5), which was sunk in the battle. However, one of the senior aviators, McCluskey, (played by Bruce Bennett), is a clear reference to the Enterprise (CV-6) air group commander, Clarence Wade McClusky. See more »
At the end of the movie, the battle damaged aircraft carrier is shown steaming into New York Harbor along with a montage of stock footage showing battle damage. However, one clip has the open ocean in the background rather than the New York City skyline. See more »
Gary Cooper and Jane Wyatt shine in this 1949 film about the history of aviation in warfare.
The picture begins in 1922 when carriers were just getting started. The picture is at its best when we see the early American isolationism that evolved after World War 1.
Gary Cooper is in fine form as the pilot who is banished to Panama for stepping on too many toes for his pro-carrier beliefs. Jane Wyatt plays a woman who loses her husband during a practice run and marries Cooper later on.
The last 20 minutes of the film is shown in Technicolor under the admirable direction of Natalie Kalmus, a person used Technicolor so vibrantly in the films of the late 1930s and 1940s as well. The battle scenes are quite authentic and this picture serves well as a tribute to our fighting forces during World War 11.
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