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A Gathering of Eagles (1963)

During the Cold War, Air Force Colonel Jim Caldwell shapes up his Strategic Air Command B-52 wing to pass a nuclear war readiness test.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (story)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Col. Jim Caldwell
...
Col. Hollis Farr
Mary Peach ...
Victoria Caldwell
...
Col. Bill Fowler
...
Gen. 'Happy Jack' Kirby
...
Col. Joe Garcia
Leora Dana ...
Mrs. Evelyn Fowler
...
Sgt. Banning
...
Col. Ralph Josten
Richard LePore ...
Sgt. Kemler
...
Lt. Col. Gales
...
Col. Morse
...
Gen. Aymes
Russ Bender ...
Col. Torrance
John McKee ...
Maj. Travis
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Storyline

Rock Hudson plays an Air Force Colonel who has just been re-assigned as a cold war B-52 commander who must shape up his men to pass a grueling inspection that the previous commander had failed, and had been fired for. He is also recently married, and as a tough commanding officer doing whatever he has to do to shape his men up, his wife sees a side to him that she hadn't seen before. Written by Roger Dearnaley <roger@paperart.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Red Phone... His Mistress... Her Rival... Hurling Him to the Edge of Space... Freezing Her Love on the Edge of Time! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 June 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aguilas al acecho  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,346,500 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastman Color by Pathé)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jerry Goldsmith's opening fanfare was licensed by Cinema International Corporation (CIC) for its vanity plate fanfare. CIC was an international film distribution company, part owned by Universal (with Paramount and, later, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). See more »

Goofs

After landing the T-33 chase plane that he flew alongside Col Caldwell's B-52 during the bomber's inflight emergency, Col Farr is seen climbing down from the T-Bird's cockpit. But there is no postflight ground crew or ground power equipment present, and the plane's wheels are not chocked to prevent it from rolling. All these things would have been present during an actual aircraft parking situation. See more »

Quotes

Gen. 'Happy Jack' Kirby: Col. Farr, you're aware of the peacetime regulation against sending up an aircraft without full power?
Col. Hollis Farr: Yes, sir.
Col. Jim Caldwell: Sir, we're simulating wartime conditions. I would have made the same decision.
Gen. 'Happy Jack' Kirby: [scratches one cheek, then the other] So would I. And I'm not going to score it as an abort.
[cracks a smile and exits]
Col. Hollis Farr: We're in.
Col. Jim Caldwell: He didn't even mention the bombing scores.
Col. Hollis Farr: Oh, I'll guarantee you they're great. Listen, he smiled at you. When 'Happy Jack' smiles at a wing commander, that's like giving him the...
See more »

Connections

Edited into Columbo: The Most Crucial Game (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sac Song
Words and Music by Tom Lehrer
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User Reviews

 
Life of Air Force SAC colonel convincingly portrayed by Rock Hudson in director Delbert Mann's 1963 film
8 September 2006 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

"Rock Hudson" is almost synonymous with either lighthearted battle-of-the-sexes romantic comedy (many with Doris Day) or director Douglas Sirk's 'soap' melodrama (two with Jane Wyman), but a serious role in a story about military life (Air Force SAC squadron) is truly a departure.

I was fortunate to catch the film "A Gathering of Eagles" 1963 by director Delbert Mann on TCM cable in August when they showed several Rock Hudson movies the same day. This is a rare instance with Rock Hudson in an earnest role and he delivered a mighty convincing Col. Jim Caldwell in the Air Force to shape up the SAC (Strategic Air Command) squadron.

"A Gathering of Eagles" 1963, is known to be accurate in depicting the lives of SAC men. Director Delbert Mann himself is not unfamiliar with Air Force life, having been a bomber pilot and flew combat missions in the war years. Script by Robert Pirosh gave us a dramatic story covering military duty life in the Air Corps: family and wives, camaraderie spirits, demanding duties/schedules, firm disciplines and technical aspects included. Hudson was solid in his performance as a tough tireless Colonel assigned to lead the SAC members to ensure they're tightly trained with repeated alert exercises, that the fighter bombers be in absolute tip-top conditions for any unannounced "ORI" (operational readiness inspection).

Cinematography by Russell Harlan with editing by Russell Schoengarth 'showcased' scenes of "MITO" (Minimum Interval Take Off) of B-52's and aircraft aerials quite impressively. Good supporting cast includes Rod Taylor as Col. Hollis Farr, Barry Sullivan as Col. Bill Fowler, Henry Silva as Col. Joe Garcia, Leora Dana as Mrs. Fowler, and Mary Peach as Victoria Caldwell, the British wife to Hudson's colonel. Besides the involving 'storyline' of the day to day challenges of Col. Caldwell's military responsibilities, the family aspect of balancing the role of a loving husband to Victoria is well portrayed. The script poignantly afforded uncertainty situations in the mix for Peach, as 'military' wives may have to go through - adapting herself and trying to understand and to cope with her husband's dedication to the Air Force in his chosen career.

Music score is by the prolific Jerry Goldsmith. "A Gathering of Eagles" is not yet on DVD. Hope to catch it again on cable/TV, or VHS rental.

Other serious roles by Rock Hudson: "Seconds" 1966, the intriguing thriller/science-fiction directed by John Frankenheimer, enhanced by remarkable b/w cinematography by James Wong Howe. "Hornets' Nest" 1970, a wartime WWII story set in Italy with an 'army' of young boys helping Hudson's Captain Turner to complete his mission (I stumbled onto this movie one late TCM cable night). He's also in Douglas Sirk's "The Tarnish Angels" 1958, appearing once again with Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone (they were in Sirk's melodrama "Written on the Wind" 1956).


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