7.0/10
1,233
25 user 15 critic

The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, War | 31 December 1955 (USA)
A dramatization of the American general and his court martial for publically complaining about High Command's dismissal and neglect of the aerial fighting forces.

Director:

Writers:

(story and screenplay), (story and screenplay)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A model agency in Rio de Janeiro is actually a front for a white-slavery ring that kidnaps European women and sells them on the South American sex market.

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Scott Brady, Johanna Matz, Raymond Burr
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

An American carnival in Germany sets the scene for sin, sex and melodrama.

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Anne Baxter, Steve Cochran, Lyle Bettger
The Boss (1956)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Political corruption is vividly depicted as a ruthless WWI veteran takes almost complete control of a state with the help of a crooked lawyer. The film is enhanced by John Payne's persuasive performance as "The Boss."

Director: Byron Haskin
Stars: John Payne, William Bishop, Gloria McGehee
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Bernard Girard
Stars: Susan Oliver, Melinda Plowman, Beverly Long
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A retired mob accountant is drawn back in when his brothers, who have recently made a hit for the organization, decide to go to the authorities.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: Richard Conte, Dianne Foster, Kathryn Grant
The Sandpiper (1965)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A free-spirited single mother forms a connection with the wed headmaster of an Episcopal boarding school in California.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Eva Marie Saint
Adventure | War | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

In colonial America, wanderer Deerslayer gets involved with Tom Hutter, a bigoted trapper, and his two contrasting daughters.

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Lex Barker, Rita Moreno, Forrest Tucker
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Robert Walker
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A disgraced merchant marine officer elects to stay aboard his sinking cargo ship in order to prove the vessel was deliberately scuttled and, as a result, vindicate his good name.

Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston, Michael Redgrave
Cowboy (1958)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Chicago hotel clerk Frank Harris dreams of life as a cowboy, and he gets his chance when, jilted by the father of the woman he loves, he joins Tom Reece and his cattle-driving outfit. Soon,... See full summary »

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Glenn Ford, Jack Lemmon, Anna Kashfi
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A Swedish whaler is out for revenge when he finds out that a greedy oil man murdered his father for their land.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: Sterling Hayden, Sebastian Cabot, Carol Kelly
The Plainsman (1936)
Biography | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Wild Bill Hickok attempts to stop an Indian uprising that was started by white gun-runners.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Col. Billy Mitchell
...
Gen. Jimmy Guthrie
...
Congressman Frank R. Reid
...
Maj. Allan Guillion
...
Margaret Lansdowne
...
Col. Moreland
...
Lt. Col. Herbert White
...
Lt. Cmdr. Zachary 'Zack' Lansdowne
...
Capt. Bob Elliott
...
Capt. Russ Peters
...
Adm. Gage (as Robert Simon)
Charles Dingle ...
Sen. Fullerton
Dayton Lummis ...
Tom McKee ...
Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker
Stephen Roberts ...
Maj. Carl Spaatz (as Steve Roberts)
Edit

Storyline

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 <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He defied the army and navy . . . and they gave him a Court Martial!

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 December 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Condamné au silence  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(optical prints)| (RCA Sound Recording) (magnetic prints)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The appearance of Major H. H. ("Hap") Arnold, played by Robert Brubaker in the film, is significant, for it was he who would authorize the famed Doolittle air attack on Tokyo in April 1942. The raid consisted of B-25 Mitchell bombers - named in honor of Billy Mitchell. See more »

Goofs

The award ribbons on Billy Mitchell's uniform coat are arranged in rows of three. However, he actually wore them in rows of four. See more »

Quotes

Admiral William S. Sims: The Navy hasn't got any policy on flying, they are ignoring the aeroplane in hopes that it will just go away.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in M*A*S*H: 5 O'Clock Charlie (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

The U.S. Air Force
(uncredited)
Music by Robert Crawford
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
To Fill The Skies With American Eagles
12 August 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Otto Preminger put together a real good cast to tell the story of The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell, considered by many to be the spiritual founder of the American Air Force. Gary Cooper was only a few years older than Billy Mitchell when he chose to publicly criticize the existing services and invite a court martial and fits the part as right as he did when playing Lou Gehrig.

What to do and who would control the airplane as a strategic weapon was a running debate even before World War I. By the time that Mitchell court martial took place in the mid Twenties, nearly every other country with the means had founded a separate Air Force. America would not have a separate Air Force until 1947 when the Army and Navy were put under one Department of Defense and an Air Force created from those members of the Army Air Corps who wished to join.

No one ever doubted the airplane had some value in war time. Those like the general Charles Bickford played who is an amalgamation of many in the service that Gary Cooper unsuccessfully dealt with, saw it as a thing for scouting, maybe transportation. Billy Mitchell saw it as far more than that.

Mitchell fought hard for money that to further develop airplanes that the Army and Navy wouldn't even ask Congress for if Congress were so disposed to give it back then. After several fliers were killed in some planes that were little more than kites with motors, Mitchell lambasted both services and got his court martial.

Military historians from then till now still debate the value of the airplane in war. The best that can be determined is that air superiority can give one an edge in a close contest. It can't win a war all by itself. If it could Great Britain would have surrendered after the blitz or Germany would have been pounded into submission by Army Air Force and RAF bombing of the place for three years, starting even before one American soldier was in ground combat.

My favorite analogy has always been the difference between the landings at Salerno in 1943 and in Normandy in 1944. In The Longest Day there's a famous scene where two airplanes take off and make a strafing run on one of the beaches and then fly away. That was the sole contribution of the Luftwaffe, by then they had no more contribution to make.

A year before at Salerno, the battle took three weeks with planes from the Allies and the Axis engaged before Allies were established. It was a close run thing as the Duke of Wellington said about another battle a century earlier. Planes do make a difference, but they're not the whole ballgame.

Billy Mitchell chose a course that finished his career in the U.S. Army. He knew it would end this way and he did it anyway. The military as an institution is resistant to change as most everyone agrees. Mitchell fought for air power and airplane development as a civilian as long as his health permitted.

Besides Cooper and Bickford the most noteworthy two performances in the film are Ralph Bellamy as Republican Congressman Frank R. Reid from Illinois who served as Mitchell's civilian defense counsel in the trial and Rod Steiger who played the hired gun from the Judge Advocate General's office who conducts a devastating cross examination of Cooper on the witness stand.

The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell is a good dramatization of one of the great criminal trials of the last century. And it's a wonderful story about sacrificing one self for an idea you believe in.


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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Gary Cooper's portrayal nelson95
So what actually happened? lazur-2

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?