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Wing and a Prayer (1944)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 11 January 1945 (Argentina)
In WW2, an American aircraft carrier sails around the Pacific on a decoy mission until it joins the battle of Midway against the Japanese forces.

Director:

Henry Hathaway

Writers:

Jerome Cady (story), Jerome Cady (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Ameche ... Flight Cmdr. Bingo Harper
Dana Andrews ... Lt. Cmdr. Edward Moulton
William Eythe ... Ens. Hallam 'Oscar' Scott
Charles Bickford ... Capt. Waddell
Cedric Hardwicke ... Admiral (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Kevin O'Shea Kevin O'Shea ... Ens. Charles 'Cookie' Cunningham
Richard Jaeckel ... Beezy Bessemer
Harry Morgan ... Ens. Malcolm Brainard (as Henry Morgan)
Richard Crane ... Ens. Gus Chisholm
Glenn Langan ... Executive Officer
Renny McEvoy ... Ens. Cliff Hale
Robert Bailey ... Ens. Paducah Holloway
Reed Hadley ... Cmdr. O'Donnell
George Mathews ... Dooley
B.S. Pully B.S. Pully ... Flat Top
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Storyline

An aircraft carrier is sent on a decoy mission around the Pacific, with orders to avoid combat, thus lulling Japanese alertness before the battle of Midway. All the men have their individual worries and concerns, but become increasingly frustrated at their avoidance of combat, for reasons unknown to them. But in the end, all get their chance to fight. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MOST DANGEROUS MISSION IN THE WAR! (original ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 January 1945 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Wing and a Prayer: The Story of Carrier X See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,250,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In order to add "immediacy" to the final attack on the ship the actors were filmed in front of rear-projected shots of actual combat footage. This is especially noticeable when showing the flight deck behind Charles Bickford since the perspective is slightly off. See more »

Goofs

The film takes place in the months leading up to the Battle of Midway in June, 1942, and the pilots in it fly Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bombers. The TBF was not introduced until just prior to Midway and saw its first operational flights at the battle. During the period in which the film takes place, the pilots would actually be flying Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bombers instead. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Waddell: The trap has been sprung. Believing us scattered all over the ocean, the main Jap fleet is headed for Midway. They're going in for the kill and so are we. We're through pulling punches. We're through running away. Our mission is accomplished and from here on in, we fight!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in M*A*S*H: Death Takes a Holiday (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung on deck at night by the crew
See more »

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User Reviews

 
activities before Battle of Midway
3 November 2010 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Wing and a Prayer" is a decent WW II film made in 1944. It stars Don Ameche, Dana Andrews, William Eythe, Cedric Hardwicke, Charles Bickford, Harry Morgan, and Richard Jaeckel (so young it's unbelievable). It's directed by Henry Hathaway.

The story concerns Naval decisions made during World War II before the Battle of Midway. It's not complete -- because of the time that it was made, info was still classified. We had broken the Japanese code and knew what was going to happen at Midway. This particular film is about a carrier, probably in real life, The Enterprise, that was supposed to make the Japanese think the Navy was spread all over the place so that they wouldn't anticipate the forces at Midway. When they were seeing carriers in different spots, they were in fact seeing only this carrier. The crew was told not under any circumstances to engage with the Japanese, which caused fatalities and problems when pilots could not defend themselves.

The crew was in the dark, of course, and had no understanding of this policy, so they were angry and frustrated.

Don Ameche plays a very stern flight commander, Bingo Harper, a man without a sense of humor, who seems detached from his men. Andrews plays lieutenant commander Edward Moulton, and William Eythe plays Hallam "Oscar" Scott, a film star who carries his Academy Award with him for luck.

This is a 20th Century Fox film, and Andrews and Eythe were two actors who came up during World War II and were groomed by Fox to take over for its absent actors. Eythe bore a resemblance to Tyrone Power and was being groomed for stardom. The role he plays here is undoubtedly based on Power, who was indeed a movie star-pilot with an unusual first name. And he had kissed Betty Grable, just like Hallam. Unlike Dana Andrews, Eythe probably would never have made first ranks - he is rough around the edges, awkward physically, and he just didn't have star quality. He was given some excellent roles, but after Zanuck found out he was gay and pretty openly the lover of actor Lon McAllister, he got rid of him. Eythe found work in television and on the stage but died at the age of 38 of hepatitis.

All in all, a pretty good movie, though the characters aren't very well developed, particularly Andrews' role. The minor characters have more back story.


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