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This movie was made at the same period as Strategic Air Command, Bridges at Toko-Ri, The Hunters and other wave the flag Cold War error. Yes as stated it does have some overstated patriotic, my job is the most important job in the world sentiment to it. That being said, I am a former USAF maintenance technician who did work on B-52's amongst other airframes in my 20 year career. I enjoyed the movie for several reasons, one the airplane shots with the B-47, F-86, and B-52B's. There are a number of at best questionable plots in the movie but all in all not bad if you like early Air Force movies. And in opposition to a previous input, the maintenance tech on these airframes is all important to the scheme of thing. The "O's" get to fly them but could not do a thing with out the maintainers keeping them ready to fly.
I didn't really know what to expect when I started watching this but I
am glad I made the decision to do that.
Karl Maiden plays an experienced Air Force crew chief who's job it is to keep the planes flying. He has spent some 20 years in the air force when he gets an offer to work for a company for multiple times his current salary. His late teens/early 20s daughter is very vocal about him taking up this offer and his wife is leaning towards that as well. So he decides to put in his resignation papers with the Air Force but they take some time to go through.
At the same time major changes are taking place on the base he is stationed at. An old acquaintance, a man who Maiden's character is not too fond of due to past events, becomes a senior officer at this base and the unit is chosen to become the first one in the US Air Force to take delivery of the new B-52 bombers which they must now get to know. Everybody wishes for him to stay and help out with the new planes and he decides to do that until his resignation papers are processed. During this time, quite a few things happen, both in his personal/family life as well as some adventures with the new planes.
What I liked about this film is that the drama isn't forced or too overbearing. It is more down to earth, if even to say realistic and something one can relate to. Another huge bonus is that the film had the full cooperation of the Air Force so there are no miniatures or painted backdrops. All the planes are real (quite surprising that they'd feature America's latest achievement in aerial weaponry in a film as much as this) and the sets are actual air bases. Its a pleasure to watch all this big hardware moving around.
If you like films about the air force with a bit of personal drama thrown in, this is quite good.
I was stationed at Castle AFB from 1956 to 1960 (93rd Field Maintenance Squadron) and watched the filming of the flight line segments. I even have some black & white pictures of Natalie with some of my squadron mates. The high point was the low altitude flyover of a flight of B-52s. The segment where the landing gear is jammed was done in our maintenance hanger with the bomber on jacks with wheel well doors open. An iris on the lighting gave the impression of the wheel well doors opening as the iris was opened. In the finished film it looked very realistic. My one complaint was the scene of a B-52 flying with it's gear down after being refueled by a KC-97, that just wasn't done.
i just saw this from the DVD release.Its an enjoyable movie,as long as one doesn't ask too much.This is a simple story of a career technician of the air-force,and his problems with his daughter and a Colonel who dates her and whom he knew back from the Korean war.Natalie Wood who plays the daughter is in her blooming youth here. Malden is a pleasure to watch in his simple working man role,also his life doesn't look half-bad,he has a lovely wife and daughter and a job he loves and he is really good at.In fact,the America in the 50's look in beautiful widescreen and Technicolor,is the main the thing i liked about this movie. The subplot is about the B-52 bomber of course,and the movie shows in detail this huge aircraft.Its not really a plane very suited for movies,unlike fighter planes,but for airplane fans its interesting. All in all,i think its a decent movie but mostly for people who like airplanes.
I am NOT being negative when I say that "Bombers B-52" is a propaganda
piece. Not all propaganda is necessarily evil and the film clearly is a
giant recruiting film for the US Air Force. It features their new B-52
bomber and is intended as a publicity piece. However, he's the odd
part...the film is also, at times, a bit like a soap opera. While the
general plot is a lot like the superior "Strategic Air Command" where a
man struggles to decide whether to stay on active duty or move to the
private sector, there is the soapy element because the man with this
struggle (Karl Malden) is under the impression that his Commanding
Officer (Efram Zimbalest) is a playboy trying to wood Malden's daughter
(Natalie Wood). Of course, it's all just a misunderstanding that could
EASILY be explained away, but most of the film Malden and Zimbalest
grunt and do their macho posturing instead of just talking. This makes
an otherwise decent film a bit clichéd. During a few sequences, you
really wish they'd have edited out the schmaltz and theatrics! It's a
shame, as the air sequences are very nice (with a few amazing aerial
shots of the bomber from above in mid-flight) and the film is a decent
historical look into the Cold War.
A few things to note in the film: The interesting ejection sequence--it really opened my eyes about the way a crew would leave the plane if there was an emergency as well as the low flyover in Egypt--which surely would have resulted in the Egyptians shooting at the plane as well as an international incident!
Interesting as well as tedious film at times , though . The picture
contains a silly and boring love story ; being designed to showcase the
US Air Force's brand-new B-52 Stratofortress bomber, including actual
footage of jet plane and as such the studio received complete
cooperation from the Air Force . As the B-52 Stratofortress bombers
weighed 500,000 pounds and could fly at a speed of 650+ miles per hour
and travel 17,000 miles without having to land and they could refuel in
mid-air . This aerial drama deals with Sgt. Chuch Brennan (Karl Malden
who steals the show as expert sergeant) always disliked playboy and
hotshot, Col. Jim Herlihy (Efrem Zimbalist , he replaced Tab Hunter) .
Now Chuck has even more reason to, Jim is dating his daughter, Lois
(Natalie Wood ,during shooting, she was named "Miss Stratosphere of
1957" and "Sweetheart of Castle Air Force Base") . This movie's
dedication shown at the end of the film states: "With grateful
appreciation for the cooperation of the United States Air Force we
proudly dedicate this picture to the crew chiefs and ground personnel ,
the indispensable men who contribute so much to our airpower."
This is a family drama , including an usual love story between a pilot colonel and a gorgeous young with her sergeant father objecting , interwoven with nice aerial footage of B 52 maneuvers . This film is a Warner Brother official studio tribute to the B-52 Stratofortress bomber air craft and the United States Air Force. This was apparently the first film in which the US Air Force's new B-52 Stratofortress bomber was featured. It appeared in a number of films afterward, notably A Gathering of Eagles (1963), Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), and By Dawn's Early Light (1990). Good quartet protagonist as Karl Malden , Efrem Zimbalist , Natalie Wood and Marsha Hunt . Although Natalie Wood received star billing with her name above the title, she actually only had a minor part . Fine plethora of secondaries , many of them uncredited , such as Ann Doran , John Doucette , Stuart Whitman , Bing Russell , Will Hutchins and recently deceased Juanita Moore . Colorful cinematography in Cinemascope by William H. Clothier , John Ford's usual , it was shot on location in in Merced County (California) Air Force base . Thrilling as well as rousing musical score by Leonard Rosenman .
The motion picture was professionally directed by Gordon Douglas. This is one of various and professional works of his long career as filmmaker . He was a Hollywood veteran director, directing early movies such as ¨Little rascals¨, ¨Spanky¨. He was an expert on adventures genre as ¨Black arrow¨ and ¨Fortunes of Captain Blood¨ , both starred by Louis Hayward ; but he's mainly specialist filmmaking Western , his first was ¨ Girl rush (1944)¨ and in the 40s directed ¨Doolins of Oklahoma¨ and ¨The Nevadan¨ for duo Harry Joe Brown-Randolph Scott . He went on directing Alan Ladd's vehicles as ¨Iron Mistress¨ and ¨The fiend who walked west¨ which resulted to be a Western rendition to ¨Kiss of death¨. In the 50s he proved his specialty on Western in the films starred by Clint Walker as ¨Fort Dobbs¨ ,¨Yellowstone Kelly¨, ¨Gold of seven Saints¨ and about legendary bandits as ¨Doolins of Oklahoma¨ and ¨Great Missouri raid¨ . After that , he filmed ¨Chuka(1967)¨ that bears remarkable resemblance to ¨Only the valiant¨ , the remake ¨Stagecoach (1966)¨ , and the superior ¨Rio Conchos¨. Douglas usually worked for Frank Sinatra in various films such as ¨Lady in Cement¨, ¨Tony Rome¨, ¨The detective¨ , ¨Robin and the 7 Hoods¨. Bombers B 52 , rating : Passable and acceptable , 6 . Well worth seeing .
If you love anything and everything about the B-52 than you'll love this film. That's what caused me to give it a six. It would have been higher; but this was a really dumb story. A really good cast was squandered on a poorly written story. The underlying story is about a misunderstanding that came out Karl Malden's character jumping to a conclusion about his commanding officer; that he doesn't bother to clarify. He just holds his bitterness about his conclusion until he finds himself working with Zimbalist again. Both men are assigned to the testing program. To make the story more interesting, I guess; Malden has a beautiful daughter (Natalie Wood). While the first part of this story was in Korea, the rest of the story is about the B-52 and Karl Malden trying to keep Effram Zimbalist away from his daughter. Because he thought Zimbalist had been a coward in Korea (and didn't bother to talk to him about it), so did everything he could to keep Zimbalist away from his daughter. He goes so far as resigning from the air force to be able to get his daughter away. However he winds up having to fly another long test flight while his resignation is being processed. During this test flight there is a major failure and most of the crew has bail out; the pilot (Zimbalist) stays with the plane and gets it back to the air base. It's here that the story gets really silly. When Malden bailed out they didn't get a very good fix on his position. So when the search is going badly Zimbalist's character decided he was going to take part in the search. So we have a story where a full colonel is riding in helicopter, taking part in a search and rescue operation. They get to an area to where they think he is; and they put the colonel down on the ground to search for Malden. He finds him, and this eventually gives him the chance to find out he was wrong about Zimbalist, all along. In the end all is forgiven and Malden now wants Zimbalist to marry his daughter. Even though Zimbalist is twenty years older then the girl he is pursuing (Natalie Wood). In this story the crew is working with the very first B-52's and supposedly doing some kind of advanced testing; the thing that is hard to believe is that there are no people from Boeing (the maker of the plane) working with this plane. Advanced testing like this is done with major involvement with the plane; they would even be flying on the plane during this kind of testing. And in the end, in this film the Air Force seems to be making all their decision about the B-52 based on the advice of one senior enlisted man. It's difficult to spell out how really silly this story is. It's a guilt pleasure that i have watched this film more then once. But I watch for the scenes with the 52. The underlying story is rubbish.
This was a popular and often-run feature in the late 50s which had the
advantage of a good cast in Karl Malden, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and
"Flight" was very popular science in the 50s and the subject matter produced many films with big stars (Jimmy Stewart played in more than one of these, "Strategic Air Command" and "Spirit of St. Louis" to name a couple).
"Bombers B-52" and "X-15" (with Charles Bronson) shared double bills in my neighborhood on more than one occasion, as these films were likely to draw in a good crowd of young and enthusiastic boys who were probably building the plastic model kits at home as well.
Karl Malden plays a 20-year veteran of the Air Force who wants to retire in order to make more money for himself and his family as a civilian (there's an interesting story angle!). His timing isn't good, however, as the new nine million dollar B-52 is introduced to Malden's California air base, and the cocky Colonel he's disliked since Korea wants him to stay and supervise the flight line. Glossy CinemaScope melodrama divides its time between the Sergeant's digs and the noisy air strip. Watchable, but still not enough material here to justify nearly two hours of screen time. Natalie Wood, as Malden's daughter, has a curious scene crying in her room (just after receiving a brand new convertible as a present); she's embarrassed her dad isn't held in higher esteem by his superiors, but from what we can see this isn't entirely true. "Romeo" fly-boy Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. practically begs the more-experienced Malden not to retire, yet the movie's narrative is so gummy we aren't sure of his motives. Shot in gorgeous color, the film looks extremely handsome, but Irving Wallace's script needed more of the funny digs we get near the beginning. The final act is so routine as to be almost unintentionally amusing. ** from ****
Disappointing compared to for example The Hunters and rather in the manner of the made for TV programming sponsored by large corporations in the 1950's and '60's seamlessly wholesome, moderate and reassuringly affirmative of worthy values - of patriotism, of the decency of the military, of family, of duty and of hard work being its own reward. The aerial photography lacked the supreme vividness of The Hunters. Also the B52 was not as photogenic or exciting as the F86 - similarly Karl Malden compared to The Hunters star hero Robert Mitchum. Nevertheless the script called on Malden to do what he does supremely well - play the decent simple unglamourous man. The two women play very conventional roles - supportive nice looking wife, pretty, innocent and well-behaved daughter. Other women are simply described as "blonds" or "brunettes" - enough said. The greatest object of passion was the new B52 - the "biggest, fastest, highest flying, longest range bomber in the world" - passion which in movie terms sounds cheesy but in reality the chance of working on the best, the latest, fastest, most advanced etc etc is the lure which captures and retains the most skilled designers and engineers worldwide.
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