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.
Yates and Sarah Martin are barely getting by in a Colorado boom town grocery store. Sudden wealth leads to greater prosperity and political power. In Denver Yates buys a mansion and builds ... See full summary »
Alfred E. Green
Edward G. Robinson,
The life of boisterous entertainer Texas Guinan is recalled from her poor childhood with a down-on-his-luck father to her reign as the Queen of the Night Clubs. Along the way, she also ... See full summary »
Arturo de Córdova,
Journalist Steve O'Malley wants to write a biography of a national hero who died when his car ran off a bridge. Steve receives conflicting reports and tales that make him question what the truth about the hero is.
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
Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson starred together in 1944's "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo". See more »
Late in the movie Dorinda (Irene Dunne) is wearing the uniform of a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP), apparently still ferrying airplanes. However, WASPs never ferried planes to overseas locations, especially combat areas such as New Guinea, which is in the Southwest Pacific. Earlier in the movie she is in England; however, she was wearing a British uniform and women regularly ferried planes there and even encountered combat conditions. 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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'A Guy Named Joe' had a lot going for it, as cliched as this sounds it is a good way of describing something that have a lot of major things that makes one want to see it. Something that has happened numerous times but with varied success in execution. Victor Fleming was responsible for great films, 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Gone With the Wind' being timeless. Also respect Spencer Tracy and Irene Dunne highly as actors so that was another interest point.
Watching it finally, 'A Guy Named Joe' may not completely live up to its potential and everybody involved gave better performances in better things. It does however have more than enough to make it well worth watching and it still is a good representation of the cast and Fleming, so promise is a long way from squandered (am very happy about that as that is a pet peeve of mine watching films etc and has happened many, many times).
Sure, it is not going to work for everybody and is in no way my definition of a classic. The story can be silly and is not always realistic, with it not always gelling with the wartime setting. The effects do show their age and are really quite artificial.
The script can descend into melodramatic soap, not always but when it does it is as subtle as a sledgehammer.
However, 'A Guy Named Joe' shows a lot of polish and care, without being too glossy, in the production values. One can really see the effort in the lavishly produced, without being overly elaborate, sets and equally handsome photography. The music avoids being too stock or syrupy, as well as not being too intrusive. Fleming's direction shows no signs of coldness or indifference, it instead came over as assured and sympathetic while showing momentum. The script is not perfect but nothing came over as toe-curling and the cast show a lot of committment in making it ring true.
Like the script, the story is not perfect but it is never dull, the air sequences do have an exciting momentum regardless of how they hold up visually and the emotional impact is definitely there. Will admit to feeling misty-eyed at the end, and didn't think that the film got too sentimental and despite being a film with heavy-handedness being a big danger it just about avoided that mostly (lapses of subtlety is obvious at times having said that) though somewhat by the skin of its teeth. The cast are uniformly strong, with a subtle and charming performance from Tracy and a truly heartfelt one from Dunne. Their chemistry does have a spark, couldn't tell that behind the scenes they apparently didn't get along. Van Johnson's acting here is some of his best and it is always great to see Lionel Barrymore and Esther Williams.
In a nutshell, well worth watching if not a classic. 7/10
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