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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Olivia de Havilland,
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
The P-38 Lightning, featured in this film, was considered one of the best planes of WW2 since it was faster than most Japanese planes, highly maneuverable and could accept heavy damage and still fly. It featured forward firing guns, including a 20mm cannon, rather than the angled wing guns on most planes. It had one bad feature. When bailing out a pilot had to roll the plane and fall out rather than crawling out and jumping since the horizontal stabilizer between the two tails frequently would hit the pilot as he jumped. See more »
When "Nails" confronts Pete with a combat photo of Pete's
bomber flying much too low during a raid, the aircraft seen in the picture is a Lockheed Hudson. Pete piloted a North American B-25 Mitchell. See more »
Interesting comparison with "Always" by Spielberg.
As many viewers I saw "Always", actually several times, before I even learned about "A Guy Named Joe." It is factual that the later film was a remake of the earlier one, but being in more modern times a significant story difference was depicted. I have no reason to compare the two against each other, for each one is a fine film on its own.
Set in WW II England, "A Guy Named Joe" gets its title from a comment made by one of the British children waiting to talk to Pete after one of his bombing runs over Germany. He told one of the other children, "that's what all American soldiers are called, guys named Joe." There was no actual character named Joe in the film.
I had never seen Spencer Tracy in his prime, and he was quite a handsome actor. Now I understand why he was so popular. He plays Pete, the pilot who takes unapproved chances to get difficult jobs done. In "Always", Dryfuss as Pete does the same for putting out forest fires. In both films Pete dies during a heroic mission and in heaven is sent to help a novice pilot, who ends up romancing his old girlfriend, Drinda.
I understand that at least one viewer who was in WW II thinks this is not a very good or realistic film. Maybe not, but it is still entertaining, and for me interesting to see a film made the year before I was born. Worth seeking out, for anyone who also enjoyed "Always" to see where it came from. Two different films from two different times, both excellent.
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