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Starlift (1951)

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Air Force fliers Rick Williams and Mike Nolan attempt to meet film star Nell Wayne, with whom Rick shares a hometown but not much else. Fellow film stars Doris Day and Ruth Roman mistakenly... See full summary »



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Title: Starlift (1951)

Starlift (1951) on IMDb 6/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Doris Day
Gordon MacRae
Virginia Mayo
Gene Nelson
Ruth Roman
Nell Wayne
Dick Wesson ...
Sgt. Mike Nolan
Ron Hagerthy ...
Cpl. Rick Williams
Richard Webb ...
Col. Callan
Howard St. John ...
Steve Rogers
James Cagney
Gary Cooper
Virginia Gibson ...
Virginia Gibson
Phil Harris


Air Force fliers Rick Williams and Mike Nolan attempt to meet film star Nell Wayne, with whom Rick shares a hometown but not much else. Fellow film stars Doris Day and Ruth Roman mistakenly believe Rick to be very close to Nell and arrange for him to meet her. The pair begin to form a match, especially after Nell, Doris, and Ruth arrange for Hollywood stars to perform for G.I.s in transit to and from the Korean War, at Travis Air Base. But Nell thinks Rick is getting ready to ship out to the war, when in reality, he and Mike ferry troops part of the way then return to Travis Air Base with returning soldiers. Nell is furious with Rick for letting her believe he was headed to a war zone, especially because the press has made a huge story of their romance. Meantime, a new program, Operation Starlift, has been set in place by the Air Force and the Hollywood studios, whereby stars are flown to San Francisco to perform for the outbound and inbound troops. Movie stars such as Randolph Scott,... Written by Jim Beaver <>

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Release Date:

16 May 1952 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Starlift  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In a shot of the troops boarding their aircraft at Travis AFB the number on its tail is 8399. When a jeep pulls up in front of supposedly the same aircraft its number (on the nose) is 2600. See more »


References White Heat (1949) See more »


'S Wonderful
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Doris Day
See more »

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User Reviews

Considerably fewer stars than there are in heaven
27 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's nothing more than a weird coincidence that I decided to watch STARLIFT on the 59th anniversary of the day in June 1950 when President Truman's ordered US forces into the Korean War. STARLIFT, you see, is set largely at Travis Air Force base in California in the years when it was being used as a staging post for soldiers being shipped out to fight in Korea. But you'd need to do your own research to know this because not once during the film is the name 'Korea' mentioned. We see transport aircraft flying out fresh troops and returning with wounded soldiers but there's no mention of where these men will be fighting or getting injured. Which is kind of weird for a film designed to wave the flag and salute America's men in uniform. Released in December 1951 by Warner Brothers, STARLIFT is a very obvious effort to replicate the success of the studio's star-studded World War Two home-front morale booster "Hollywood Canteen." This 1944 crowd-pleaser told the story of two soldiers spending their last three nights of leave hanging out at the famous armed forces nightclub in LA hoping to get a date with Joan Leslie. But really it was just an excuse for Warners to trot out every star under contract, from Joan Crawford, John Garfield, and Barbara Stanwyck to Peter Lorre, Bette Davis, Sydney Greenstreet and more. STARLIFT features two Air Force soldiers hoping to meet fictional starlet Nell Wayne (a mask-like Janice Rule) and persuading a bunch of Warner Bros stars to put on a show for the departing troops. But in place of Crawford, Garfield et al the best the brothers Warner could scrape up in 1951 were Doris Day, Ruth Roman, Gordon MacRae, Virginia Mayo, Gene Nelson and Phil Harris with fleeting appearances by James Cagney, Randolph Scott, and a clearly embarrassed looking Gary Cooper. This threadbare cast, whose combined star power would struggle to illuminate a standard lamp, is perfectly matched by the crummy production values. Presumably in an effort to save money several long scenes were shot using really really bad back projection. How bad is it? You can see the join where the screen meets the floor of the soundstage! To describe STARLIFT as a sloppy, lazy and third rate movie is to do a disservice to films which are sloppy, lazy and third rate. It's just terrible. Avoid it.

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