The true story of General Billy Mitchell, a pioneering crusader for the Army's fledgling air corp. In spite of an impressive performance during the First World War, the commanders of America's armed forces still think of the airplane as little more then a carnival attraction. Even after sinking an "unsinkable" captured German battleship from the air, Mitchell sees funds dry up and friends die due to poor equipment. He is court-martialed after questioning the loyalty of his superiors for allowing the air corp to deteriorate. Written by
KC Hunt <email@example.com>
Although he had said long ago that he would make no more biopics, he signed for The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955). It was a poor Otto Preminger film and even Billy Mitchell's widow expressed disappointment with Cooper's performance. Possibly the story had appealed to Cooper on political grounds and Mitchell may have been a hero of his - the general who accused the government of neglecting military needs. Cooper went on Ed Sullivan's TV show to promote the film and home viewers were quite disappointed - David Shipman referred to Cooper's "effeminate mannerisms in his TV interviews". See more »
At the climax of the film when Mitchell rises to hear the tribunal's verdict, the shadow of the camera can be seen moving in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. See more »
Too add to the comments already made in this database I would like to point out that viewers seem to forget that the testimony in the film by Major Hap Arnold, Captain Eddie Rickenbaker, Major Karl Spatz and Fiorello LaGuardia substantiated Colonel Mitchell's facts.
As for whether the court-martial did what it intended to do, obviously it did not in Pearl Harbor's case, however, it may have helped development of better aircraft and aircraft carriers during the 30's, especially when one considers this was during a depression.
What could have been brought to light was the complacency of the public at the time, roaring 20's, etc.. Also the public's isolationist outlook.
At any rate, General Mitchell will always be a hero to airmen, along with General Hap Arnold and others.
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