Reviews written by registered user
|5 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I did see this (TV) movie and I do remember it ... sort of. Since there
is no plot description given and no reader comments yet, I will have to
rely on my memory (probably a bad idea).
What I remember is Suzanne as a young female pilot who wants to be in the unlimited class air races but her male friends block her ambitions. Her boyfriend (Farentino) annoys her enough that she runs off with a bad-boy pilot (Slate?) for a quickie. When her other male friends find out about that affair, they berate her and make her feel so bad she wants to kill herself (yeah, it's that bad a plot). She takes her plane up with the intention of crashing it but is followed by Farentino who tries to talk her out of it. I won't totally spoil the story by telling you how it ends but trust me, you won't be surprised.
At the time this movie was made, the US was going through a major cultural change and feminism was on the rise. This movie was a forgettable attempt to show a young woman struggling against the mores of the time. That's just my take on what I remember so if there is someone with a different viewpoint, please post a comment.
What makes this movie memorable to me was not the plot nor the actors but the plane that Suzanne files, a Grumman Bearcat (ex Navy fighter). There are too few movies that show an F8 Bearcat in flight (offhand, I don't know of another one). So I remember the story because of those scenes of the plane.
Captain Midnight was a crime fighter, a jet pilot, a scientist and a
super role model for kids. He gave me an early desire to become a jet
pilot when I grew up. I never did though, become a jet pilot I mean. I
was a fan from the beginning of the TV series and never missed an
episode when we lived in Los Angeles. I had a secret squadron decoder
ring too. If I remember it right, I sent in the paper seal on the
inside of the cap of a bottle of Ovaltine plus 25 cents and I got the
ring in the mail. Pretty cheesy little gadget that fell apart quickly
but it was a symbol of the show and I liked having it. I believe he had
a slick special car too to go along with the streamlined theme of the
base and the jet. Yeah, really good entertainment for kids of the day
In my opinion this is one of the best films made by Ivan Tors. Tors
created "Science Fiction Theater" for TV and made several SciFi films
(like The Magnetic Monster) before this genre was really popular. He
brought real science to the screen in plots that may seem dated today
but afterall, it was 1954. In GOG, Tors brings in then brand new
inventions such as jets, computers, robots, high frequency sound,
cryogenics, sunlight as a weapon, electronic surveillance, atomic power
and even man-made satellites (which would not become reality for 3 more
years). To an audience unfamiliar with such things, it was exiting and
scary. Especially scary when you were made to think such super weapons
were under the control of a foreign power. The Korean War had just
ended and the USSR was making aggressive comments about atomic war with
us. This movie gave me nightmares for quite awhile.
The story is fiction but the war was very real when this movie was
made. While not intended to be a comedy, it has it's moments of humor.
I heard it said this was to be a British movie but was switched to
Hollywood because Britian was in deep straits and under attack at the
time. Whatever the reason, it plays pretty well except for the old US 4
piper destroyer sinking a modern Japanese battleship (not a Japanese
destroyer) . Not very likely, but that's Hollywood for you. However,
the acting by Charles Laughton is classic. He does indeed steal every
scene he's in and that takes some doing when one of the other actors is
Walter Brennan. Laughton's John Paul Jones speech to the ship's company
is superb and stirring even 60 years later.
I remember this movie well though it was a half century or more ago
that I saw it. It was on TV at a time when only 10-20 year old movies
were being broadcast (pressure from the big movie studios?). That this
movie was only 6 or 7 years old and still made it to TV shows how
little Hollywood thought of it.
I don't think of it as a "Christmas movie" though that theme does fit. I liked it because of the wacky plot (to my young mind) and because the stars (Don Defore and Gale Storm) were familiar to me. I have come to realize the genius of adding Victor Moore to the cast. He was one of the really good character actors of the time and his part goes a long way toward making this movie memorable.
It is too bad this fine movie isn't preserved and available to the general public. I would buy a copy.