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Flying Leathernecks (1951)

 -  Drama | War | Action  -  28 August 1951 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 2,852 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 15 critic

Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin
Don Taylor ...
Janis Carter ...
Joan Kirby
...
MSgt. Clancy, Line Chief
William Harrigan ...
Dr. Lt.Cdr. Joe Curran
James Bell ...
Colonel
Barry Kelley ...
Brigadier General
Maurice Jara ...
Shorty Vegay
...
Lt. Bert Malotke
James Dobson ...
Lt. Pudge McCabe
Carleton Young ...
Col. Riley
Michael St. Angel ...
Capt. Harold Jorgensen, Ops. Officer (as Steve Flagg)
Brett King ...
1st Lt. Ernie Stark
Gordon Gebert ...
Tommy Kirby
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Storyline

Major Daniel Kirby takes command of a squadron of Marine fliers just before they are about to go into combat. While the men are well meaning, he finds them undisciplined and prone to always finding excuses to do what is easy rather than what is necessary. The root of the problem is the second in command, Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin. Griff is the best flier in the group but Kirby finds him a poor commander who is not prepared to the difficult decision that all commanders have to make - to put men in harm's way knowing that they may be killed. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

AIR-DEVILS OF THE SKY! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War | Action

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 August 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Devil Dogs of the Air  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(archive footage)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's dedication states: "Dedicated to the United States Marine Corps, and especially to Marine aviation. Appreciation is gratefully acknowledged for their participation and assistance which made this picture possible." See more »

Goofs

At about the 56 minute mark, the Navajo Indian pilot is shot in a dogfight. In the initial scene he is wounded in the right leg; in subsequent scenes, the wound is in the left leg. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stalag 17 (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Close Air Ground Support
30 November 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Flying Leathernecks finds John Wayne in the Marines again, but this time as a commissioned officer/pilot. He has an idea about better coordination with ground troops on that lovely tropic isle of Guadalcanal and he inherits a squadron that essentially become guinea pigs to test his theory out.

He also inherits a resentful Executive Officer in Robert Ryan who keeps getting passed over for command. Ryan's a favorite with the men and he bleeds over the prospect of any of them being killed. Fine traits for a human being, but not something that works in a war situation.

As so many others have said, Flying Leathernecks has a whole lot of the elements that made Sands of Iwo Jima a critical and popular success. Wayne and Ryan work well together, possibly the political differences with both in real life lent itself to the performances of both men.

In the supporting cast you will like Jay C. Flippen as the larcenous sergeant in charge of the ground crews. Flippen provides a lot of what comic relief we have in Flying Leathernecks. Years later Flippen and Wayne worked together again after Flippen lost a leg to diabetes. Wayne gave him a small part in The Hellfighters to help him with medical expenses. Wayne did that on numerous occasions when he later produced films himself or had a say in casting. He wasn't about hand outs, but he always was ready to help an ill colleague with a pay day that did not rob folks of dignity. He didn't give jobs, he hired men as he said in a later film

Not the best stuff technically speaking for the air sequences. That Howard Hughes put in Jet Pilot with unfortunately a ridiculous story to go with it, not anything like the Flying Leathernecks story which admittedly is average at best.

Still it's far from the worst or best work John Wayne ever did.


7 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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