Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension.
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It is the Korean War and Lt. Harry Brubaker is a fighter-bomber pilot on the aircraft carrier USS Savo Island. A WW2 veteran and Naval Reserve pilot, he was drafted back into service from civilian life. This makes him quite resentful and cynical about the war. Now he has a dangerous mission to perform, and he is not sure he is up to the task.Written by
1. The book uses the name of the decommissioned/mothballed escort carrier Savo Island instead of the name of an Essex-class carrier on which author James A. Michener was a journalist (an escort carrier is incapable of launching or landing jet aircraft and only had propeller driven aircraft in its air group). The U.S. Navy aided in the production of this film by allowing the use of its fleet carriers (it did not use escort carriers, as they were incapable of performing the jet aircraft attack missions that were required of the film). This did not mean that the CVEs were not used during the Korean War; in fact, the following escort carriers did serve: USS Rendova (CVE-114); USS Bairoko (CVE-115); USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116); USS Sicily (CVE-118) flagship of Carrier Division (CarDiv) 15; USS Point Cruz (CVE-119). The CVEs carried piston-engined aircraft such as the F4U Corsair and A-1 Skyraiders. See more »
The aircraft carrier on which most of the action takes place is referenced as the "Savo Island" in this movie as well as the book upon which it is based. However, in reality the aircraft carrier USS Savo Island CVE-78 was a much smaller ship, a Casablanca-class escort carrier, too small to be appropriate for an admiral to use as a flagship. Plus, Savo Island was decommissioned shortly after World War Two, several years before the story takes place. Instead the actual ship used in the movie is USS Oriskany CV-34, an Essex-class fleet carrier which really did participate in the Korean conflict. Several scenes clearly show her ship number "34" on the flight deck. See more »
Lt. Harry Brubaker:
Did you ever hear Admiral Tarrant go on about the war? About the chosen few who have to lay it on the line?
Naw, me and Nester don't do too much fraternizing with admirals.
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Opening credits prologue: With Task Force 77 U.S. Navy Off the coast of Korea November, 1952 See more »
I was a sailor assigned to the Oriskany and observed the filming; and I met Mickey Rooney and Earl Holliman. Those are some fine men; and they entered our shipboard environment seamlessly. During the filming, on his off time, Mickey Rooney performed for the crew with his own one-man show in one of the hanger bays. He played drums like one would never expect him to. He was a good musician, and great fun to be around. I would sure like to thank Rooney and Holliman for making our lives pleasant in such a distant and lonely place.
Once I was walking down a passageway and saw a very small pilot in a flight suit. I didn't think that one would find pilots that short because of the Navy's requirements for aviators. Then, I saw his face, and it was Mickey Rooney. Rooney and the film crew stayed on board for Thanksgiving, and that has to be the most memorable Thanksgiving I ever had.
To me, that film is a time capsule, and every time I see it, it brings back fond memories of life on the Oriskany. The Oriskany was the last Essex class aircraft carrier built, and it was about three years old when I was on it. Sadly, it's been scuttled, and turned into fish habitat.
Anyway, like I said, Holliman and Rooney are excellent people; I never met Holden, but he was there too.
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