Straight from the pages of a pulp comic from a past era, the Rocketeer recreates 1930's Hollywood, complete with gangsters, Nazi spies, and the growth of the Age of Aviation. Young pilot Cliff Secord stumbles on a top secret rocket-pack and with the help of his mechanic/mentor, Peevee, he attempts to save his girl and stop the Nazis as The Rocketeer. Written by
Greg Bole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Gee Bee racer was nicknamed "The Widowmaker" and "The Flying Coffin" because it was incredibly difficult to fly and was prone to crashing. Because of its speed and maneuverability some pilots raced it in spite of the danger. See more »
In the scene where Cliff tries to save Malcolm, the second time Cliff flies up to the biplane and lets the engine run too long, the wire holding up his waist can be seen for a second. See more »
[as they bring the Gee Bee out for its maiden flight]
Keep her straight, keep her level. It's your first time up, so don't do anything interesting.
And remember, she stalls out at about a hundred. So keep the air speed up. Otherwise, you're gonna be drifting around all over the sky. And if the ailerons start to shimmy...
Peevy, I have flown a plane or two in my life.
Not like this one, you haven't. This one's... This one's a handful. You sneeze in this thing and you're ...
[...] See more »
I was chomping at the bit, waiting for this movie to come out, back in 1991. I had loved the Dave Stevens comics since I first encountered them (ironically, at the same time I had read about Bettie Page in an article about Bunny Yeager, in a photography magazine). The comic captured the spirit of 1930's aviation pulps, as well as the Doc Savage crowd. It also brought along that Republic Studios flavor. I couldn't wait to see this as a movie.
The movie captured the spirit of the comics beautifully. Sure it was disappointing that Doc Savage couldn't be included, but Howard Hughes made a sensible substitution. I was a bit annoyed that Disney felt they had to change Betty into Jenny, but with Jennifer Connelly in the role, I was in a forgiving mood. The film was full of action and humor, cliffhangers and character; just like Stevens' creation. If there was anything to criticize, it was the toning down of Betty/Jenny. Yeah, I know, this is Disney, and she was far tamer in the comics than the real Betty/Bettie Page; but, hey, a guy can hope.
Bill Campbell was perfect for Cliff Secord. He had that All-American look, with an impish twinkle in his eye. Watching the movie, you could see the excitement when he was flying, and that he was head over heels in love with Jenny.
Alan Arkin made a great Peevy, although he was far less cantankerous than his print counterpart (incidentally, Peevy was based on Doug Wildey, creator of Jonny Quest). He was more of a Connecticut Yankee than grouchy mechanic.
Timothy Dalton made a great pseudo-Errol Flynn. I wasn't too happy that they trotted out that Flynn-as-Nazi Spy nonsense; but, it works beautifully for the story. Paul Sorvino made a great 30's mobster, too. Add Tiny Ron as Lothar, modeled after Rondo Hatton, and you have some pretty fun villains.
Then, there's Jennifer Connelly, one of the most beautiful and talented actresses in Hollywood. As I said, I had hoped for a little sexier character; but, the compromise was still pretty good. Connelly brought both a wholesomeness and sex appeal to the role. She looked great in the period clothing, too.
Everything about this film worked. The period detail was first rate, from the costumes, to he set design, to the slang. The only thing that would have improved this would have been to make more films. This is a great film for the whole family and captures the spirit of Republic and the pulps as well as Indiana Jones did.
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