6.5/10
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32 user 5 critic

Toward the Unknown (1956)

Approved | | Drama, History, Romance | October 1956 (USA)
At the dawn of supersonic flight in the 1950s a group of Edwards Air Force Base experimental aircraft test pilots push themselves to the limit.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writer:

Beirne Lay Jr.
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
William Holden ... Maj. Lincoln Bond
Lloyd Nolan ... Brig. Gen. Bill Banner
Virginia Leith ... Connie Mitchell
Charles McGraw ... Col. 'Mickey' McKee
Murray Hamilton ... Maj. Bromo Lee
Paul Fix ... Lt. Gen. Bryan Shelby
James Garner ... Lt. Col. Joe Craven
L.Q. Jones ... 2nd Lt. Sweeney
Karen Steele ... Polly Craven
Bartlett Robinson ... Senator Black
Malcolm Atterbury ... Hank - Bell Technical Rep.
Ralph Moody ... Harvey Gilbert
Maura Murphy Maura Murphy ... Sarah McKee
Carol Kelly Carol Kelly ... Debbie
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Storyline

USAF Major Lincoln Bond is captured, tortured and released from a POW camp in Korea. After the war he returns to the US where he is re-assigned as a test pilot at the Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The Air Force is testing the new experimental aircraft Gilbert XF-120 fighter. The acceptance of the new aircraft by the Air Force is dependent on successful tests designed to prove the aircraft's reliability and safety. However, when Major Bond flies the prototype he encounters a problem that points out a dangerous structural flaw. This could threaten the aircraft's acceptance by the Air Force and derail the whole project. Major Bond's commanding officer and some of his colleagues start to suspect that Major Bond is imagining things because of his mental condition dating back to his imprisonment and torture in the Korean POW camp. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

ROCKET SHIP PILOTS, U.S.A.! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Einst kommt die Stunde See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toluca Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature film debut of James Garner. See more »

Goofs

Throughout the film,( Lloyd Nolan's character,)The General's combat ribbons on his uniform keep changing in number. Early in the film he has three rows of combat ribbons. Later, he has 5-rows, and then 3-rows again. See more »

Quotes

Brig. Gen. Bill Banner: [to Maj. Lincoln Bond] Even with torture, you're not the kind to crack.
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Soundtracks

The U.S. Air Force
by Robert Crawford
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User Reviews

 
Pretty good with a grain of truth-
5 July 2006 | by Jim ASee all my reviews

The basis of this film is the true story of Walker "Bud" Mahurin, an Air Force double ace (WW II and Korea) who was shot down in Korea and while in a POW camp, was tortured into signing bogus confessions of war crimes. When he was released, he was instrumental in changing content of AF survival courses to reflect this mistreatment.

This movie has some beautiful flying scenes, but it is more than just another flying movie. William Holden is excellent as the emotionally shattered pilot attempting a comeback from disgrace. The supporting cast is pretty fair, with the exception of L.Q. Jones in a thankless comic relief part (not to cast aspersions on him as an actor, the part really bites). The aviation content is generally accurate, with some rare footage of the Bell X-2 and a failed bomber, the Martin B-51, marked in the movie as the Gilbert XF-120. If this came out on DVD, I'd sure buy it in a hot second!

Regarding Txgmajor's comment below on the XB-51- one of the main reasons this plane wasn't built was the fact that Glenn Martin, owner of Martin Aircraft and maker of the B-51, sided with the Navy regarding the political dogfight over control of Naval aviation and the merits of the Air Force's pet bomber project at the time, the B-36, featured in Jimmy Stewart's "Strategic Air Command". Martin did build the Canberra bomber for the USAF under license, but never again was able to sell an original design to the Air Force. Old grudges die hard.


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