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...
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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
The aircraft carrier used at the end of the movie was the USS Enterprise (CV-6). The deck markings can be seen as EN on the bow and stern. A photo of the USS Enterprise (CV-6) from 1939 on Wikipedia confirms this. See more »
When Fighting 8 takes off from the Enterprise (the carrier has a squared-off deck and the letters "EN") to search for the downed seaplane, one of the planes takes off from a carrier with a curved flight deck and a large "O" painted on the forward end. This would be footage of a takeoff from either the Saratoga or Lexington. Probably the Saratoga, since there are photos showing the "O" on her flight deck found online. See more »
Robert Taylor plays a flier assigned to the famous "Hell Cats" in "Flight Command" from 1940. Taylor plays Alan Drake, who excitedly joins the Hell Cats and then realizes he has a lot to learn from his commander, Billy Gary (Walter Pidgeon) - Alan met Billy's wife Lorna when he landed off-course en route to join the Hell Cats.
Though he feels left out by the guys, he finds acceptance at a party given at Billy's and Lorna's (Ruth Hussey) house and blends in well. He helps Billy's brother-in-law Jerry (Shepperd Strudwick) with a device he's working on that allows one to fly in the fog; unfortunately, Jerry is killed testing the device, leaving his sister Lorna devastated.
While Billy is out of town, Alan does what he can to cheer Lorna up. She starts to fall for him, and in a panic, she leaves Billy. The Hell Cats assume that Alan is having an affair with her and turn on him.
Pretty routine with some wonderful flying sequences and some lovely performances, particularly from Pidgeon and Hussey. Strudwick, a young man here, was a Broadway actor who went on to continue on Broadway and also prime time television and soap operas, best remembered as Victor Lord in One Life to Live. He gives an energetic performance.
Taylor is handsome and debonair and does a good job as Alan. He was a solid actor, not given to introspection, and capable of better work than he was often given. He loved being at MGM, took the pathetic money the studio gave him (he was supposedly the lowest paid contract player in history), and played whatever parts he was handed. The parts got better after the war. We lost so many of these leading men way too young, thanks to the habit of smoking. Taylor was a three-pack-a-day man who died at the age of 57.
Pretty good, nice performances, great effects for 1940.
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