Group Commander Dan Collier, on an aircraft carrier in Korean waters during the Korean War, starts to think back to the rough days of the air-war against Japan during World War II, when he ... See full summary »
Group Commander Dan Collier, on an aircraft carrier in Korean waters during the Korean War, starts to think back to the rough days of the air-war against Japan during World War II, when he was in the same squadron. In flashbacks, he recalls the arrival of the squadron, led by Executive Officer Joe Rodgers, and the campaigns in which the squadron participated and its desperate fight for survival prior to the climax of the war. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
My attraction to this B feature from 1952 is the above summary. Tragic perhaps to most, but to me, not even remotely interested in the Navy or war films or Sterling Hayden and Richard Carlson or anything to do with guns (it might as well have been a western too, for that matter, but it isn't) ... my only and complete fascination is that it was made by Monogram using interesting Cinecolor. I actually quite enjoyed FLAT TOP for about an hour then I lost the thread of the story. It seemed to be a never ending circuit of missions/Japs/well filmed interesting dogfights, pink explosions in cine-color and men in jets looking out the window. I think this was one of those films that worked well in huge theaters full of kids or servicemen. Monogram seemed to have well scammed a great idea to make a film: Get permission and co operation from the US Navy to film aboard one real aircraft carrier ( A: no sets needed) using lots of men in uniform (B: no costumes needed and C: hundreds of free extras) cobbled a story together about jostling dogfight commanders and some disciplinary tactics (scenes in small rooms using A+B and some outdoors/on deck filler scenes using C. The actual footage of some spectacular genuine dogfight action seemed to be plentiful (again, provided by the Navy or the War dept) as there was a lot of fight scenes and flying through explosions and bits of blown apart planes (all very interesting and adding to the reality) and on and on it went. Some back projection with actors wobbling and swerving their cockpit and presto: one Govt sanctioned movie as a Korean War propaganda and recruitment piece now showing thu 1952 in 10,000 theaters. Very profitable. My fascination with Monogram's production methods satisfied again. the Red/Bue cine-color was interesting as it resulted in tan skin tones with a lot of blue/grey (handy if you film an aircraft carrier and a sky) and a lot of orange/red (good for lifejackets and explosions). There was no yellow in the film and no actual green. It all worked as I am sure it was expected to. The music was excellent, the studio photography good too. Very well edited into 85 minutes. My research in Australia showed that it had a good run and stayed in play up until the 60s believe it or not. Monogram ceased to be a production name in 1953 when they changed name completely to Allied Artists. People criticize Monogram's inventive budget production methods but I find them ingenious.
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