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In 1952, as the Korean War rages on, American officers land in Kyoto. Among them are Major Ceve Saville, assigned to a fighter squadron, and Lieutenant Carl Abbott. The latter neglects his charming wife Kristina, who is sinking into bitterness. In Korea, Saville meets again Colonel Dutch Imil, a former brother in arms as well as other friends. Back in Japan Saville falls in love with forsaken Kristina, which arouses Abbott's jealousy. The two men turn into implacable rivals. But during a mission against Chinese Migs, Abbott is hurt and Saville decides to rescue him... Written by
How NOT to adapt a novel to film, but still fun to watch
If you've never read the book, watch the movie first - then go find the novel for the real story. It could be categorized as "autobiographical fiction" as the author, James Salter (nom de plum) flew as a pilot with the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 4th FIW at Suwon, Korea during the war. Robert Wagner's character is a thinly veiled caricature of ace Jim Low. Mitchum is typically laconic (and I do enjoy him in this role, in spite of, or including, the schlocky love story) and the F-86s are fun to watch. Richard Egan plays well as the retread group commander who pairs Mitchum and Wagner, much to Mitchum's initial distaste. The DVD in widescreen is the best way to go, and while a far cry from "The Bridges at Toko-Ri," it's still a keeper in my book.
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