Air Force Colonel Shannon is assigned to escort defecting Soviet pilot Anna. He falls in love with her, but she is scheming to lure him back to the USSR. But Shannon has a scheme of his own. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
The US Air Force, still taking advantage of Chuck Yeager's 1947 supersonic flight for publicity, offered his services as a stunt pilot. During a stunt involving the inverted dive of an F-86, Yeager misjudged the dive and overstressed the plane's tail, causing the horizontal stabilizer to come apart while he was too low to eject. He barely managed to pull out. See more »
Anna was wearing two awards of the "Hero of the Soviet Union" decoration. It is the highest decoration for bravery approximately equal to the "Medal of Honor." A few women, ninety-two, with fifty receiving it posthumously, were awarded it once, but records do not show that any woman ever received it twice. See more »
Howard Hughes original intension was to do another Hell's Angels for the Cold War Era. Remember that film was equally famous for the aviation shots as for the debut of Jean Harlow as sex symbol.
Well if sex and flying worked before, why not again. Hughes filmed some really great aviation footage and then worked to build a story around it, one with some sex. So he reworked the plot of Ninotchka and adapted it to the wild blue yonder.
The reason originally for the delay in release was that we were making great strides in aviation post World War II. So he re-shot and re-shot the aviation sequences and then eventually lost interest. Jet Pilot was released seven years after it was originally filmed and by then the planes really looked out of date. Our's and the Soviet's. One of the players, Richard Rober, in fact was killed in an automobile crash in 1952.
The only thing you can say about Jet Pilot is that the Russians were far in advance of us on feminist issues. Why then would you have the shapely Janet Leigh filling out a flight suit after allegedly going off course and landing in the USA?
Air Force Colonel John Wayne interrogates Janet about the latest in Soviet technology, but then he gets other things on his mind. After a while he's got the hots for her so bad, he marries her and they go back to the USSR to see what he can find out about their aircraft.
Does it sound pretty silly to you? Even for a propaganda film I doubt this one affirmed anyone's Americanism. Remember this was released on top of The Conqueror and between them they put and end to Wayne's seven year reign as number one at the box office.
By the way at the time this was being filmed, Howard Hughes was panting after Janet Leigh the same way he'd earlier panted after Ava Gardner. He got MGM to send her to RKO for three films, this, A Holiday Affair and the musical Two Tickets to Broadway. Poor Janet.
And poor everyone else connected with Jet Pilot.
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