6.9/10
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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:

Queen of the Flat Tops See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,250,000, 31 December 1944
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

After landing for the first time, Dana Andrews reports the squadron to be Torpedo 5. The air group is also reported to be Air Group 5. This means the carrier would have been USS Yorktown (CV-5). Yorktown had been damaged at the Battle of the Coral Sea a short time before. She was hastily repaired at Pearl Harbor and put back to sea still with workmen on board. She was again severely damaged at the Battle of Midway and sunk. See more »

Goofs

The movie shows the torpedo planes attacking the Japanese carriers and sinking them with virtually no losses. In the actual battle, most of the torpedo planes were shot down without inflicting any damage on the Japanese fleet. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Cmdr. Edward Moulton: Didn't you see the wave off?
Ens. Hallam 'Oscar' Scott: Yes sir, I did.
Lt. Cmdr. Edward Moulton: What did you think the flag man was doing? Waving bye bye?
See more »

Connections

Edited into All This and World War II (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Deep in the Heart of Texas
(uncredited)
Written by Don Swander and June Hershey
Sung by William Eythe in the cockpit
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Very Different View Of Midway
16 August 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

If you want to see the actual story of the battle of Midway than definitely see the film that came out in the Seventies. If you can fast forward through the fictional plot involving Charlton Heston and his family problems you will see a very good documentary about the battle and how close run it was.

Wing and a Prayer came out two years after and there were restrictions placed on the details, probably due to the fact that one of the reasons we won it was because we had broken the Japanese naval code. Still some of the restrictions were a bit ridiculous.

Whose idea was it to cast Sir Cedric Hardwicke as an American Admiral, presumably the Chief of Naval Operations who gave us an overview of the film we were about to see in a prologue. The Chief of Naval Operations at that time was one Ernest J. King who was a rather profane man given to using universally understood words in his normal conversations. He must have had one good laugh at the very prim and proper Cedric Hardwicke playing him, in on a pass from the Royal Navy.

The aircraft carrier where the story takes place is unnamed, but I think we can assume it's the Enterprise. In charge is Admiral Charles Bickford playing most probably Raymond Spruance who had tactical command of the task force at Midway.

The plot of Wing and a Prayer centers around a conflict between Dana Andrews head of a torpedo squadron assigned to the carrier and Don Ameche, a stern by the book Naval commander in charge of the airplanes and their crews. Ameche and Andrews have conflicts similar to what Ameche had with Tyrone Power in films like In Old Chicago. If Power hadn't been in the Marines at the time serving in the real war in the Pacific, I'm sure he would have had Andrews's part.

The usual wartime clichés and characters abound in Wing and a Prayer. One unusual part is that played by William Eythe, a Hollywood actor enlisted in the service and who's one of Andrews's pilots. This might have been Darryl F. Zanuck's idea of a tribute to his main star who as I said was actually serving.

Wing and a Prayer is not a bad film, but with Midway out there it's just not the best film on the subject.


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