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The McConnell Story (1955)

Approved | | Drama, War | 2 December 1955 (West Germany)
A Korean War fighter pilot hero returns home to test fly the new Sabre jets despite his wife's uneasiness regarding his job.


Gordon Douglas


Ted Sherdeman (screenplay), Sam Rolfe (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Alan Ladd ... Capt. Joseph C.'Mac' McConnell, Jr.
June Allyson ... Pearl 'Butch' Brown
James Whitmore ... Col. Ty 'Dad' Whitman
Frank Faylen ... Sfc. Sykes
Robert Ellis ... Bob Brown
Willis Bouchey ... Newton Bass
Sarah Selby ... Mrs. Brown
Gregory Walcott ... 1st Military Policeman
Frank Ferguson ... Mechanic


Mac's plans to settle down and raise a family are upset by the Korean War. He goes as a fighter pilot and returns a hero, the first triple ace of the war. His neighbors have built a home for Mac and his devoted wife and their three children. Now he has an offer to test pilot new Sabre Jets. His wife is uneasy but knows she cannot ground her man. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The real thing! The true story of America's first triple jet ace!


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The McConnells settle in Apple Valley, CA, just outside Victorville in San Bernardino County. See more »


The B-17s during the WW2 bombing raid have 1942 camouflage and USAAF stars, yet the combat scene depicts them being attacked by Me163 rocket fighters, which were not used operationally until late 1944, and then in much smaller penny-packet formations, rather than the squadron strength suggested in the movie. Additionally, the Me 163s are clearly models, going far slower than in reality, and have prototype markings without authentic camouflage. But, so much for 1950s special effects. See more »


Capt. Joseph C.'Mac' McConnell, Jr.: I think I'm going to call you 'Butch'
Pearl 'Butch' Brown: Why?
Capt. Joseph C.'Mac' McConnell, Jr.: Because when I look at you, you cut me into pieces.
See more »


Referenced in Broadway by Light (1958) See more »


Get Happy
Music by Harold Arlen
Played when Mac and Butch are walking down the street in Texas
See more »

User Reviews

Our first jet war ace
1 April 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Joseph J. McConnell, Jr. was America's first triple jet ace in what was the first war fought with jets by both sides. Since World War I, one became an ace as a pilot when one had confirmed downings of five of the enemy. Mr. McConnell had nineteen to his credit when he was taken out of combat in Korea and given a stateside assignment.

The McConnell Story is about his life and Alan Ladd does a good job in portraying the man as he meets and marries the woman of his dreams and struggles to become a pilot in the military. The woman of his dreams in this case is June Allyson who played more devoted wives and girls next door than anyone else in Hollywood in her time. Usually Allyson worked with either James Stewart or Van Johnson as her leading men over at MGM. She and Ladd had a good chemistry here.

The chemistry may have been partly fueled by rumors of an affair on set. Allyson had a few of them in her day, but this was the only time it was ever rumored about Ladd according to his biographer Beverly Linet. Ladd worked hard to keep a wholesome image before the public and that might have been the reason he and Allyson never worked together again.

And The McConnell Story is one wholesome picture. If it weren't for the Army/Air Force scenes you might think you were watching Ward and June Cleaver. But that's how America likes its heroes and Hollywood was obeying the box office.

It should also be remembered that Korea was also the first war of the newly formed United States Air Force. Whereas most country's had a separate air service during World War I or set them up shortly thereafter, America waited until 1947 when the Army Air Corps was separated and became a separate service. The Defense Department in both the Truman and Eisenhower eras wanted to popularize the new service and encouraged Hollywood to make pictures to do so.

The McConnell Story is nice entertainment. It's one of Alan Ladd's best post Paramount films.

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Release Date:

2 December 1955 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Le tigre du ciel See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound System) (magnetic prints)| Mono (optical prints)


Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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