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A Gathering of Eagles (1963)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 21 June 1963 (USA)
During the Cold War, Air Force Colonel Jim Caldwell shapes up his Strategic Air Command B-52 wing to pass a nuclear war readiness test.

Director:

Delbert Mann

Writers:

Robert Pirosh (screenplay), Sy Bartlett (story)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rock Hudson ... Col. Jim Caldwell
Rod Taylor ... Col. Hollis Farr
Mary Peach ... Victoria Caldwell
Barry Sullivan ... Col. Bill Fowler
Kevin McCarthy ... Gen. 'Happy Jack' Kirby
Henry Silva ... Col. Joe Garcia
Leora Dana ... Mrs. Evelyn Fowler
Robert Lansing ... Sgt. Banning
Richard Anderson ... Col. Ralph Josten
Richard LePore Richard LePore ... Sgt. Kemler
Robert Bray ... Lt. Col. Gales
Jim Bannon ... Col. Morse
Nelson Leigh ... Gen. Aymes
Russ Bender ... Col. Torrance
John McKee John McKee ... Maj. Travis
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Storyline

Rock Hudson plays an Air Force Colonel who has just been re-assigned as a cold war B-52 commander who must shape up his men to pass a grueling inspection that the previous commander had failed, and had been fired for. He is also recently married, and as a tough commanding officer doing whatever he has to do to shape his men up, his wife sees a side to him that she hadn't seen before. Written by Roger Dearnaley <roger@paperart.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE HIGHER THEY FLY...THE FASTER THEY LIVE! THEY CAN'T SLOW UP EVEN FOR LOVE! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Gathering of Eagles See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,346,500 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color by Pathé)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In some ways this is a sequel to Strategic Air Command (1955) made in 1955 and starring James Stewart. Two reasons the sequel was needed were the change in SAC strategy and the switch from B36 and B47 aircraft to B-52 bombers. Somewhat surprisingly, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) did a better job of showcasing the B-52 than this movie did when it premiered about six months later in early 1964. See more »

Goofs

Although there were no missiles at Hamilton AFB, where the movie takes place, there were NIKE missiles located at Fort Barry, 19 miles away, Fort Cronkite, 21 miles away and Angel Island, 22 miles away. During a SAC drill, these bases would also participate, so it is conceivable that these scenes shown in the movie would be happening. See more »

Quotes

Col. Hollis Farr: [Singing "The SAC Song" by Tom Lehrer] Here at SAC we're filled with pride There's just one thing we can't decide Which we'd rather be clobbered by-- An enemy attack or ORI! Our wing commander's got a racket, But sometimes it's hard to hack it, Whenever he gets his wife alone, Ding-a-ling-aling goes the little red phone! Oh we start a seven day alert, For a week we will not see a skirt, But we know it's part of SAC's main goal, To test our positive control! Absence makes the heart grow fonder, ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Password: Betsy Palmer vs. Barry Sullivan (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sac Song
Words and Music by Tom Lehrer
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Life of Air Force SAC colonel convincingly portrayed by Rock Hudson in director Delbert Mann's 1963 film
8 September 2006 | by ruby_fffSee all my reviews

"Rock Hudson" is almost synonymous with either lighthearted battle-of-the-sexes romantic comedy (many with Doris Day) or director Douglas Sirk's 'soap' melodrama (two with Jane Wyman), but a serious role in a story about military life (Air Force SAC squadron) is truly a departure.

I was fortunate to catch the film "A Gathering of Eagles" 1963 by director Delbert Mann on TCM cable in August when they showed several Rock Hudson movies the same day. This is a rare instance with Rock Hudson in an earnest role and he delivered a mighty convincing Col. Jim Caldwell in the Air Force to shape up the SAC (Strategic Air Command) squadron.

"A Gathering of Eagles" 1963, is known to be accurate in depicting the lives of SAC men. Director Delbert Mann himself is not unfamiliar with Air Force life, having been a bomber pilot and flew combat missions in the war years. Script by Robert Pirosh gave us a dramatic story covering military duty life in the Air Corps: family and wives, camaraderie spirits, demanding duties/schedules, firm disciplines and technical aspects included. Hudson was solid in his performance as a tough tireless Colonel assigned to lead the SAC members to ensure they're tightly trained with repeated alert exercises, that the fighter bombers be in absolute tip-top conditions for any unannounced "ORI" (operational readiness inspection).

Cinematography by Russell Harlan with editing by Russell Schoengarth 'showcased' scenes of "MITO" (Minimum Interval Take Off) of B-52's and aircraft aerials quite impressively. Good supporting cast includes Rod Taylor as Col. Hollis Farr, Barry Sullivan as Col. Bill Fowler, Henry Silva as Col. Joe Garcia, Leora Dana as Mrs. Fowler, and Mary Peach as Victoria Caldwell, the British wife to Hudson's colonel. Besides the involving 'storyline' of the day to day challenges of Col. Caldwell's military responsibilities, the family aspect of balancing the role of a loving husband to Victoria is well portrayed. The script poignantly afforded uncertainty situations in the mix for Peach, as 'military' wives may have to go through - adapting herself and trying to understand and to cope with her husband's dedication to the Air Force in his chosen career.

Music score is by the prolific Jerry Goldsmith. "A Gathering of Eagles" is not yet on DVD. Hope to catch it again on cable/TV, or VHS rental.

Other serious roles by Rock Hudson: "Seconds" 1966, the intriguing thriller/science-fiction directed by John Frankenheimer, enhanced by remarkable b/w cinematography by James Wong Howe. "Hornets' Nest" 1970, a wartime WWII story set in Italy with an 'army' of young boys helping Hudson's Captain Turner to complete his mission (I stumbled onto this movie one late TCM cable night). He's also in Douglas Sirk's "The Tarnish Angels" 1958, appearing once again with Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone (they were in Sirk's melodrama "Written on the Wind" 1956).


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