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Flight Command (1940)

Passed | | Drama, War | 27 December 1940 (USA)
A rookie flyer, Ens. Alan Drake, joins the famous Hellcats Squadron right out of flight school in Pensacola. He doesn't make a great first impression when he is forced to ditch his airplane... See full summary »

Director:

Frank Borzage

Writers:

Wells Root (screen play), Harvey S. Haislip (screen play) (as Commander Harvey Haislip) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Taylor ... Ens. Alan Drake
Ruth Hussey ... Lorna Gary
Walter Pidgeon ... Sq. Cmdr. Billy Gary
Paul Kelly ... Lt. Cmdr. 'Dusty' Rhodes
Shepperd Strudwick ... Lt. Jerry Banning
Red Skelton ... Lt. 'Mugger' Martin
Nat Pendleton ... CPO 'Spike' Knowles
Dick Purcell ... Lt. 'Stichy' Payne
William Tannen ... Lt. Freddy Townsend
William Stelling ... Lt. Bush
Stanley Smith ... Lt. Frost
Addison Richards ... Vice Admiral
Donald Douglas ... 1st Duty Officer
Pat Flaherty ... 2nd Duty Officer
Forbes Murray ... Captain
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Storyline

A rookie flyer, Ens. Alan Drake, joins the famous Hellcats Squadron right out of flight school in Pensacola. He doesn't make a great first impression when he is forced to ditch his airplane and parachute to safety when he arrives at the base but is unable to land due to heavy fog. On his first official outing, his poor shooting skills results in the Hellcats losing an air combat competition. His fellow pilots accept him anyway but they think he's crossed the line when they erroneously conclude that while their CO Billy Gray is away, Drake has an affair with his wife Lorna. Drake is now an outcast and is prepared to resign from the Navy but his extreme heroism in saving Billy Gray's life turns things around. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 December 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alas en la niebla See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The squadron is based at Naval Air Station North Island, which still exists today in San Diego, CA. See more »

Goofs

When the Squadron gets the call to search for the missing seaplane, the Commander says there is just one hour until darkness. Yet the following shots clearly show them taking off with the sun high in the sky. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood: Style Center of the World (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Anchors Aweigh
(1906) (uncredited)
Written by Charles A. Zimmerman, Alfred Hart Miles and R. Lovell
Played as part of the score in the Pensacola sequence
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The "Hell Cats"
8 February 2006 | by jotix100See all my reviews

The Hell Cats, a group of Navy pilots are the subject of the film. These men showed a tremendous amount of courage in those early days of aviation before WWII. It's amazing what they could do, given the state of the technology. Basically, the film shows how the cliquishness of the more experienced pilots do to a newly arrived ace whose presence threatened the way they did things up to the time when Alan Drake, aka, Pensacola joins the group.

The director, Frank Barzage, did marvelous things with what must have been a difficult task to photograph some of the scenes from the planes commanded by the Hell Cats. For having been made in 1940, the film must have been a ground breaker in showing some incredible stunts, like the landing in the aircraft carrier in formation is seen from one of the landing planes.

The film showcases Alan Drake, an eager young pilot who joins the squadron. In joining the unit, he almost dies and has to eject from the plane he is commanding. That is when he meets Lorna Gary, who unknown to him is married to the base commander. "Pensacola", as he is known to the other men in the base, proves to be popular until his best friend dies trying to perfect a technique not approved by the Navy. The company sensing he and Lorna are having an affair quickly join ranks against him.

Robert Taylor makes a good contribution as Drake. Ruth Hussey is wonderful with her Lorna Gary. Walter Pigeon plays her adoring husband Bill. Paul Kelly, Shepperd Strudwick and Red Skelton also make good appearances as some of the pilots.

"Flight Command", although dated, proves to be a pleasant time at the movies.


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