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, Peevy, he attempts to save his girl and stop the Nazis as The Rocketeer. Written by
Greg Bole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The original inventor of the rocket pack was thirties pulp novel hero Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze, in the original graphic comic book by Dave Stevens. However, because licensing considerations, Disney did not seek permission from Conde Nast, the copyright holder of Doc Savage, and opted to substitute Doc Savage with the flamboyant billionaire Howard Hughes. See more »
The word "commando" was not widely used until 1940 after the need for quickly deployed raiding forces arose after the fall of France. However, the word came from the Boer War, where it described Afrikaaner long range penetration units fighting the British, so its use in 1938 is conceivable. 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 »
There's more fun to be had out of this movie than I'd expected. The story is given elsewhere so I'll pretty much skip it and get to the more important things, like the twenty-year-old Jennifer Connelly with her eyes of night and lips as bright as flame. She's a bit plumper (all over) than we're used to seeing her but it's okay because cartoon figures ought to be slightly overdone. She looks and sounds magnificent -- those two monumental and nacreous incisors, I guess. She could open mangoes with those teeth. Not that she's as beautiful as any woman possibly could be. Connelly COULD be better looking but if she were it would probably be against some law. Anyway, it would be hard for any normal man to stop from flinging himself at her feet and groveling over her toes.
Bill Campbell looks like a cartoon too. In fact everyone in the movie looks like a cartoon except the guy playing the huge thug working for Paul Sorvino. That guy doesn't look like a cartoon. He looks exactly like Rondo Hatten, an acromegalic actor from a few 40s horror flicks. But, it must be admitted, Rondo Hatten looked like a cartoon. And, well, if A = C and B = C, then A = B, no? It's a conundrum alright.
The movie is filled with delicious 1938 atmosphere. I wasn't around to enjoy it but it's always struck a resonant chord in me when I glimpse it in movies or listen to recordings from the period.
Here we have an Artie Shaw sort of band playing "Begin the Beguine" with a close simulation of that famous arrangement that made it such a hit. A smiling singer who looks like Nicole Kidman stands on the stage and sings without rolling around or smashing a guitar. Call me retro, but I prefer it to Snoop Dog Eeeze 2 Dudes. All seriousness aside, what happened to pop music anyway? Where are our Cole Porters and Ira Gershwins. Somebody hand me a hankie.
The production designer deserves a medal for capturing the exhilarating vulgarity of Southern California. I think I glimpsed a reproduction of Benvenuto Cellini's Apollo amidst the faux Egyptian columns.
I enjoyed the airplanes too. The one in the beginning of the movie was built exclusively for racing. (I forget its designation.) It was a horror to fly because it was hardly more than a huge engine with a tiny airplane built around it, as unstable a craft as ever took wing. Scary news footage exists of one of them zipping along at a tremendous rate and then, out of nowhere, kaboom, spinning deliriously into the ground at full speed. The 1930s were famous for their air races, like NASCAR is today. Heroes were made out of aviators. Airplanes that later became famous as fighters in WWII were first configured as racers -- Curtis P-40s, for instance, and the British Spitfires.
Of course it's an imitation of the Indiana Jones series and maybe an imitation of some Indiana Jones imitations, a kind of meta-imitation, but, gee, it's enjoyable. What atmosphere. And lots of action. Everybody and everything is turned into mincemeat one way or another but not in any way that's offensive.
It's really kind of engaging if you don't ask for significance.
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