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Mac's plans to settle down and raise a family are upset by the Korean War. He goes as a fighter pilot and returns a hero, the first triple ace of the war. His neighbors have built a home for Mac and his devoted wife and their three children. Now he has an offer to test pilot new Sabre Jets. His wife is uneasy but knows she cannot ground her man. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Joseph J. McConnell, Jr. was America's first triple jet ace in what was the first war fought with jets by both sides. Since World War I, one became an ace as a pilot when one had confirmed downings of five of the enemy. Mr. McConnell had nineteen to his credit when he was taken out of combat in Korea and given a stateside assignment.
The McConnell Story is about his life and Alan Ladd does a good job in portraying the man as he meets and marries the woman of his dreams and struggles to become a pilot in the military. The woman of his dreams in this case is June Allyson who played more devoted wives and girls next door than anyone else in Hollywood in her time. Usually Allyson worked with either James Stewart or Van Johnson as her leading men over at MGM. She and Ladd had a good chemistry here.
The chemistry may have been partly fueled by rumors of an affair on set. Allyson had a few of them in her day, but this was the only time it was ever rumored about Ladd according to his biographer Beverly Linet. Ladd worked hard to keep a wholesome image before the public and that might have been the reason he and Allyson never worked together again.
And The McConnell Story is one wholesome picture. If it weren't for the Army/Air Force scenes you might think you were watching Ward and June Cleaver. But that's how America likes its heroes and Hollywood was obeying the box office.
It should also be remembered that Korea was also the first war of the newly formed United States Air Force. Whereas most country's had a separate air service during World War I or set them up shortly thereafter, America waited until 1947 when the Army Air Corps was separated and became a separate service. The Defense Department in both the Truman and Eisenhower eras wanted to popularize the new service and encouraged Hollywood to make pictures to do so.
The McConnell Story is nice entertainment. It's one of Alan Ladd's best post Paramount films.
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