A dead World War II bomber pilot named Pete Sandidge, becomes the guardian angel of another pilot, Ted Randall. He guides Ted through battle and helping him to romance his old girlfriend, despite her excessive devotion to Sandidge's memory.
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Maj. Pete Sandidge is a very able pilot who seems to have a streak of luck as far as flying goes. World War II is raging and Pete has come out of it pretty so far. He even has a beautiful girlfriend Dorinda Durston, herself a qualified pilot who ferries aircraft to different bases. When Pete is killed however, he finds himself in heaven and learns that every pilot has a guardian angel. He returns to Earth where, unseen by anyone, he coaches a pilot-in-training Ted Randall. Ted is a pretty good kid and is coming along nicely but when he's shipped to New Guinea he runs into Dorinda who has remained faithful to her lost love. As Ted pursues her, Pete will have to decide what he wants to do about it.Written by
Along with Spencer Tracy, Irene Dunne insisted the film's production be halted until Van Johnson was well after his auto accident, in which he was seriously injured. During this period, MGM snatched Dunne up to make The White Cliffs of Dover (1944), released the following year as the MGM 20th Anniversary film. As a thank you for her gratitude, Johnson appears in a small role in 'Dover.' See more »
When Nails is standing at the bar having a drink with Pete and Al, he sits his almost full glass down before handing them their orders to Scotland. In the next shot as Nails is walking towards the door, his glass is almost empty - having never taken another drink from it. See more »
No man is really dead unless he breaks faith with the future, and no man is really alive unless he accepts his responsibility to it.
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During WW2, fighter pilot Spencer Tracy (Pete) has a maverick streak which causes him problems and gets him sent to Scotland for reconnaissance flights and eventually back to the USA to train junior pilots. However, this is not before he is given a final assignment to sink a Nazi aircraft carrier alongside several destroyers. Well, as per usual he goes all maverick and it doesn't work out too well for him. Or does it? The message of the film is one of acceptance of your situation and Tracy is perfect to lead us through the proceedings as he does indeed help those junior pilots. He also helps his partner and fellow pilot Irene Dunne (Dorinda) to come to terms with her situation as she has to let go of confinement and share out the love.
It's a sentimental film that is sentimental in a good way with ghosts helping out. We have 2 locations – Earth and the halfway-house before Heaven which is presided over by deceased ace pilot Lionel Barrymore (The General). The film is a little long and the first 45 minutes is pretty dull, an exercise in setting the scene which dragged on a bit. However, the film gets going once Tracy is given his final mission and we see the introduction of novice pilot Van Johnson (Ted). It is at this point that we also get the humour going as there is amusing dialogue from the non-mortal Tracy as he walks around in the land of the living casting disapproving facial expressions. The film is also a story for Tracy to accept his fate as his true love Irene Dunne goes off with another.
Van Johnson tells an amusing story of someone who grew another foot and whilst I can see the attraction that he may have had for Dunne, I think that Esther Williams (Ellen), in a non-swimming role, was far more suited to him romantically. Ward Bond (Al) is good as Tracy's pilot pal who remains with the living but I'm afraid I cannot say the same for Commander/General James Gleason (Nails) who annoyingly barks his way through the film. Shut up Gleason!
Overall, a film with a nice story – you may get emotional. You may also start to wonder whose spirit is standing beside you, and whilst they may poke fun at you on occasion, they are ultimately there to help you along – your Guardian Angel. I met mine in a dream – there were two of them, a little boy and a little girl and when I asked them "Who are you?", the little boy turned around and said "I'm your Guardian Angel". And it was me at age 4 I'm my own Guardian Angel! So, there is definitely weird stuff that goes on in life. Or in my head!
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