Air Force Colonel Shannon is assigned to escort defecting Soviet pilot Anna. He falls in love with her, but she is scheming to lure him back to the USSR. But Shannon has a scheme of his own.Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Location filming for the Soviet air base was done at George Air Force Base, a World War II air base with many of its wartime structures still intact, giving the base a primitive appearance. The 94th FS and its parent 1st Fighter Group were actually based at George during filming, and had just finished a deployment to Ladd Air Force Base, Alaska, as depicted in the storyline. See more »
Anna, despite being a stereotypical Russian agent in an American movie from the Cold War, surprisingly lacks a Russian accent. See more »
A boring disappointing film courtesy of Howard Hughes
This was filmed in 1950, and not released until 1957 due to producer Howard Hughes dissatisfaction with the finished film. He tinkered with various scenes for seven years, until the new aircraft he had wanted to showcase in 1950 was outdated by the time of the film's release. Scripted by Jules Furthman, it plays like a airborne remake of "Ninotchka" (1939) and 1950 anti-Communist philosophizing.
John Wayne plays Col. Jim Shannon of the Air Force. He and his squadron spot a Russian plane, flown by Olga (Janet Leigh). After getting her plane to land at the Air Force base, and questioning her, he falls in love with her. After courting her at the Pentagon's behest, so she will let information about Russia slip, he finds out she's a spy. The plot then goes into comic book territory, and loses all credibility and interest.
The script is the main problem. It changes tone from scene to scene, veering from far-fetched melodrama to crude comedy and back. Wayne plays his persona, not his character. Leigh goes from being brainy to being a "dumb blonde", with no explanation. The two do the best they can to be amusing.
I can barely tell von Sternberg directed the movie. The only sign of him is the many loving closeups Leigh is given. Winton C. Hoch directed the beautiful cinematography. Bronislau Kaper's score is much more amusing than the script.
This may be of interest to aviation buffs, and Wayne/Leigh/von Sternberg completists. All others beware.
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