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Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension. Written by
KC Hunt <email@example.com>
This is a truly superb film on any number of grounds. First, and generally unknown, it is based on a real incident, the so called "Battle of Carlson's Canyon" which was waged early in the Korean War in an attempt to interdict North Korean supplies on their way to the front. James Michener had gone out to the carrier ESSEX (CV-9) and had been very impressed with the men of VF-172, a Banshee fighter squadron. The book is astonishingly realistic...if one compares what he wrote as a novel with the contemporary Navy strike reports (which were then highly classified), it is amazing how much he got "right." It is also a good look at carrier aviation in the last days of the "straight-deck" carrier with hydraulic catapults and a paddle-waving landing deck officer...all that disappeared after Korea with the introduction of the angled deck, the steam catapult, and the Fresnel-lens mirror landing system. The book is in my view the finest air war novel ever written, bar none, and the movie is the same for the film genre. Incidentally, when made into a film, Grumman Panthers were used in place of Banshees, and one of the pilots who flew in the making of the film was a very young Lt. j.g. named Alan Shepherd--later one of the Mercury and Apollo astronauts. Not to be missed!!!
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