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J. Lee Thompson
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Flight from Ashiya is a melancholy adventure story about 3 valiant military aviators, starring Yul Brynner, Richard Widmark, and George Chakiris in the United States Airforce Air/Sea Rescue Service. Set in post World War II 1950's Japan at the US Airforce base at Ashiya, the men of the Air/Sea Rescue Service repeatedly risked their lives, and sometimes gave their lives, "So That Others May Live".
The US Airforce vehicle of choice to perform these rescues was a seaplane made by Grumann aircraft named the Albatross. This airplane was designed to make open ocean landings, even during inclement weather conditions. Flying these missions was considered very hazardous peace time duty. In fact this was so dangerous that the US military no longer performs fixed wing open ocean rescue landings. This movie is one of the few films ever to feature the Grumann Albatross in action.
Flight From Ashiya is a character study of what motivates these three individuals to risk their lives daily in the service of humanity. Through the cinematic technique of "flashback", the viewer is able to see the individual stories of TechSgt Mike Takashima(Yul Brynner), LtCol Glen Stevenson (Richard Widmark), and 2ndLt John Gregg(George Chakiris) and the dark secrets that both whittle away at their collective confidences, yet simultaneously spur them on to conquer their fears en route to a very difficult and deadly mid-ocean rescue mission.
Seaplane buffs will enjoy the Albatross footage, and the special effects were just good enough to show how difficult open-ocean landings were without overwhelming this story of human courage, and coming to terms with "personal demons" in the face of implacable odds.
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