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The Wings of Eagles (1957)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, War | 22 February 1957 (USA)
A biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Read.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Frank Fenton (screenplay), William Wister Haines (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Frank W. 'Spig' Wead
Dan Dailey ... 'Jughead' Carson
Maureen O'Hara ... Min Wead
Ward Bond ... John Dodge
Ken Curtis ... John Dale Price
Edmund Lowe ... Adm. Moffett
Kenneth Tobey ... Capt. Herbert Allen Hazard
James Todd James Todd ... Jack Travis
Barry Kelley ... Capt. Jock Clark
Sig Ruman ... Manager
Henry O'Neill ... Capt. Spear
Willis Bouchey ... Barton
Dorothy Jordan ... Rose Brentmann
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Storyline

U.S. Navy pilot Frank 'Spig' Wead is a fun-loving and rowdy adventurer, but also a fierce proponent of Naval aviation. His dedication to the promotion of the Navy's flying program is so intense that his marriage and family life suffer. When an accident paralyzes him, Spig finds a new means of expressing his love of flying: screenwriting. Successful and acclaimed, he finds the U.S. entry into World War II to be an irresistible call. Pleading that he be reinstated in the Navy despite his paralysis, Spig finds he has an enormous contribution yet to make. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

WAYNE -- in his biggest thriller! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alas de águila See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,644,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,300,000, 31 December 1957

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,650,000, 31 December 1957
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| Perspecta Stereo

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the third time John Wayne worked with Maureen O'Hara. See more »

Goofs

When Spig is narrating the newsreels where he describes the loss of the carrier Hornet, the film footage is of the carrier Bunker Hill damaged by two kamikaze planes off Okinawa in May 1945. Secondly, Spig describes the Hornet as being hit by 2 kamikaze planes. Hornet was sunk by bombs in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in Oct 1942, a full 2 years before the Japanese implemented the kamikaze doctrine. Hornet was struck by one plane that was thought to have intentionally crashed into the ship after being heavily damaged by anti aircraft fire but this is not the same as a kamikaze attack. See more »

Quotes

'Jughead' Carson: [the General has just given him some whiskey for Spig] Well, thank you sir!
'Jughead' Carson: [he chugs it and throws the bottle behind the mirror] They can make better booze in a bathtub!
See more »

Connections

Edited from Hell Divers (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Song of the Islands
(uncredited)
By Charles E. King
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hollywood biography based on a Air hero named Frank Wead with sterling performance by John Wayne
5 July 2011 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Wonderfully shot Ford film with a lively look at the spirit of Navy , including glorification of military life , familiar drama , love and sentimental nostalgia with interesting character studio of a varied assortment of individuals . It's a first-rate war melodrama , including comedy , and masterfully directed by the great John Ford . It's based on the life of one of America's greatest air heroes , Frank ¨Spig¨Wead , an Air hero who wrote plays about the war . He starred some rousing exploits in the ¨Schneider Cup Air Races¨. But he suffers a home accident and is interned in ¨San Diego National Hospital¨, and despite being crippled and wheel-bound he subsequently made a substantial contribution to America's war effort in the Pacific during WWII. He was a famous aviation pioneer become Hollywood screenwriter and one of them was ¨They were expendable (1945) ¨ directed by the same Ford and also with Wayne in the main role . This is a great and stolid drama, a John Ford's lusty realization and marvelously constructed.

This classic picture ranks as one of the best of John Ford's work. It contains Ford's usual themes as familiar feeling , a little bit enjoyable humor, friendship and and sense of comradeship among people . Multiple highlights as the fights between Air and Army soldiers and of course the sensible final farewell on the carrier . Interesting screenplay portraying in depth characters and brooding events with interesting issues running beneath script surface is written by Frank Fenton, John Ford's habitual, and based on the life and writings of Commander Frank W. 'Spig' Wead .

This excellent film featuring a magnificent performance by whole casting . Awesome John Wayne in a larger-than-life character . Enticing and intimate Maureen O'Hara in a sensible role with sensational acting . Excellent co-starring cast as War Bond as John Ford-alter ego, including pipe-smoking and hat . In the film appears , as usual , Ford's favourite actors as Ken Curtis , Mae Marsh , Kenneth Tobey, Willis Bouchey, Jack Pennick , some of them are uncredited . Good cinematography by Paul Voguel and jingoist musical score by Jeff Alexander. Rating : Better than average . Worthwhile watching .


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