Air Force Reviews

  • Jan 26, 2019

    The best thrilling and inspiring movie ever made!

    The best thrilling and inspiring movie ever made!

  • Feb 14, 2018

    As a child, TV I watched "Air Force" and other war films some consider WW II "propaganda" on TV. As a young man, after a night of carousing, I'd come stumbling home and, if a channel were showing these types of films, I'd watch them on the Late, Late Show. Now, I watch these films for the excellent acting, action, and for their historical content significance as "propaganda" films during the dark part of WWII for the US and its allies. When it seemed as if Japan and Germany were conquering the world. And I could also enjoy the action and danger vicariously. Don't kid yourself that Hollywood no longer makes "propaganda" films. They are making them now more than ever. The films are just a different type of "propaganda".

    As a child, TV I watched "Air Force" and other war films some consider WW II "propaganda" on TV. As a young man, after a night of carousing, I'd come stumbling home and, if a channel were showing these types of films, I'd watch them on the Late, Late Show. Now, I watch these films for the excellent acting, action, and for their historical content significance as "propaganda" films during the dark part of WWII for the US and its allies. When it seemed as if Japan and Germany were conquering the world. And I could also enjoy the action and danger vicariously. Don't kid yourself that Hollywood no longer makes "propaganda" films. They are making them now more than ever. The films are just a different type of "propaganda".

  • Feb 10, 2018

    A wartime Air Force story that stands out among others.

    A wartime Air Force story that stands out among others.

  • Feb 08, 2018

    thank Turner Classics....thanks Amazon Fire Stick! Thanks Mom! thanks Howard Hawks....not so thanks to wars... thanks escapism and curiosity ...from the safety of... Turner

    thank Turner Classics....thanks Amazon Fire Stick! Thanks Mom! thanks Howard Hawks....not so thanks to wars... thanks escapism and curiosity ...from the safety of... Turner

  • Jan 01, 2015

    A B-17 crew arrives in Hawaii the morning of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor and then chases the enemy fleet to a showdown in the Phillipines--It's a richly textured work, with several sub-narratives weaved into one another... Tail gunner without a tail gun!!

    A B-17 crew arrives in Hawaii the morning of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor and then chases the enemy fleet to a showdown in the Phillipines--It's a richly textured work, with several sub-narratives weaved into one another... Tail gunner without a tail gun!!

  • Jul 08, 2013

    I truly wish movie reviewers would STOP forcing pre-1960 "eggs" into post-1960 square egg crates!! If you can't put your touchie-feelie indoctrinations aside when critiquing classic films - don't review them...PLEASE! Enough with the condemnation of the "racially offensive slurs and inaccuracies" vis a vis the Japanese. If you had been seen or heard ringing your hands over this stuff on December 8, 1941, you'd have been locked in a loony bin - or shot as a traitor. This film - a superlative film in EVERY way was made a year and a half after 3000+ American naval personal had been ambushed and murdered by the Empire of Japan in a heinous attack unequaled until September 11, 2001. My father served in the Pacific in WW II, and said the Japanese were feared and hated because they were merciless, vicious and certainly NOT PC - they did not pity or spare any - men, women OR children. The POINT of this film was to laud our brave service men out there slogging around in the Pacific theater and to inspire other young men to sign up and join them. The plot, dialog, photography and acting is wonderful and I believe it ranks as one of the four greatest WW II films of all time: They Were Expendable; Air Force; 30 Seconds Over Tokyo and Saving Pvt. Ryan. Along with Resnais' Night and Fog documentary you have it pretty well summed up. This film beautifully shows Hawks' gift for building camaraderie and unity of purpose in an often disparate and hostile group. The cast is superlative...then again, you could have Harry Carey (Sr) sit in front of a camera and read ten pages from the phone book and be witness to an Academy Award-worthy performance. By-the-way, His Sgt.Robbie White in this flick SHOULD have gotten him that very award - along with two or three other roles in his career. James Wong Howe's cinematography is just magnificent. We of the sophisticated CGI-generation of cineastes KNOW many of the flying scenes are done with models - but they are done so well it never detracts. Howe's ability to film much of the action "in the fuselage" of the Mary-Ann - giving the claustrophobic sense of an air crew confined, yet never so cramped as to not allow each crewman his space to act and react to events as they take place - is wonderful to watch. Some have commented that the ending was "over-the-top". Maybe the highly technical, laser-beam-'em from 10 miles away style of modern warfare has clouded the ability of some to see that war in the 1940's was a much grittier, in-your-face proposition; one lucky break or just being in the right place at the right time was all that was needed to turn defeat into victory. I love this movie and cheered through the whole thing. So c'mon folks...pack away your granola bars, haul down the Kumbayah flag and watch those dastardly Japs get the smack-down from some good old Yankee flyboys. Thanks, Howard - ya done good.

    I truly wish movie reviewers would STOP forcing pre-1960 "eggs" into post-1960 square egg crates!! If you can't put your touchie-feelie indoctrinations aside when critiquing classic films - don't review them...PLEASE! Enough with the condemnation of the "racially offensive slurs and inaccuracies" vis a vis the Japanese. If you had been seen or heard ringing your hands over this stuff on December 8, 1941, you'd have been locked in a loony bin - or shot as a traitor. This film - a superlative film in EVERY way was made a year and a half after 3000+ American naval personal had been ambushed and murdered by the Empire of Japan in a heinous attack unequaled until September 11, 2001. My father served in the Pacific in WW II, and said the Japanese were feared and hated because they were merciless, vicious and certainly NOT PC - they did not pity or spare any - men, women OR children. The POINT of this film was to laud our brave service men out there slogging around in the Pacific theater and to inspire other young men to sign up and join them. The plot, dialog, photography and acting is wonderful and I believe it ranks as one of the four greatest WW II films of all time: They Were Expendable; Air Force; 30 Seconds Over Tokyo and Saving Pvt. Ryan. Along with Resnais' Night and Fog documentary you have it pretty well summed up. This film beautifully shows Hawks' gift for building camaraderie and unity of purpose in an often disparate and hostile group. The cast is superlative...then again, you could have Harry Carey (Sr) sit in front of a camera and read ten pages from the phone book and be witness to an Academy Award-worthy performance. By-the-way, His Sgt.Robbie White in this flick SHOULD have gotten him that very award - along with two or three other roles in his career. James Wong Howe's cinematography is just magnificent. We of the sophisticated CGI-generation of cineastes KNOW many of the flying scenes are done with models - but they are done so well it never detracts. Howe's ability to film much of the action "in the fuselage" of the Mary-Ann - giving the claustrophobic sense of an air crew confined, yet never so cramped as to not allow each crewman his space to act and react to events as they take place - is wonderful to watch. Some have commented that the ending was "over-the-top". Maybe the highly technical, laser-beam-'em from 10 miles away style of modern warfare has clouded the ability of some to see that war in the 1940's was a much grittier, in-your-face proposition; one lucky break or just being in the right place at the right time was all that was needed to turn defeat into victory. I love this movie and cheered through the whole thing. So c'mon folks...pack away your granola bars, haul down the Kumbayah flag and watch those dastardly Japs get the smack-down from some good old Yankee flyboys. Thanks, Howard - ya done good.

  • Dec 10, 2012

    Pretty standard WWI tale, but it's classed up and made better than average by director Howard Hawks, writer Dudley Nichols (with a reported dialogue polish by William Faulkner), director of photography James Wong Howe, and star John Garfield. Still, you've seen this story a hundred times before and the casual racism is pretty hard to watch at times, but despite all that, it remains a well made entertaining story, with loads of wartime action in the last reel.

    Pretty standard WWI tale, but it's classed up and made better than average by director Howard Hawks, writer Dudley Nichols (with a reported dialogue polish by William Faulkner), director of photography James Wong Howe, and star John Garfield. Still, you've seen this story a hundred times before and the casual racism is pretty hard to watch at times, but despite all that, it remains a well made entertaining story, with loads of wartime action in the last reel.

  • Feb 15, 2012

    rah rah action adventure from the master

    rah rah action adventure from the master

  • Jul 30, 2011

    The year of release (1943) should give it away that this is going to contain a fair amount of WW2 propaganda. And it does. Still, it is pretty entertaining, and the jingoism doesn't get excessive. Goodish plot, solidly directed and acted. Some of the battle scenes and plots are quite unrealistic though. Still, the flying scenes are good fun.

    The year of release (1943) should give it away that this is going to contain a fair amount of WW2 propaganda. And it does. Still, it is pretty entertaining, and the jingoism doesn't get excessive. Goodish plot, solidly directed and acted. Some of the battle scenes and plots are quite unrealistic though. Still, the flying scenes are good fun.

  • Jul 30, 2010

    Apparently Where Over-Long Action Sequences Come From As I've mentioned a time or two, I took a film class in college. This was more than ten years ago, so there's a lot about it I've forgotten, if not necessarily the list of films we saw. And one of the first of those films, which we saw for World War II Week (it was The History of the Twentieth Century Through Film), was [i]The Sands of Iwo Jima[/i], which we will not be doing here. A group of us used to sit out in the hall outside the classroom every day, and one day, we got to talking about our test on the first three films (the other two were [i]Sullivan's Travels[/i] and [i]Mr. Smith Goes to Washington[/i]). One of the girls asked me what I had put for "Was [i]The Sands of Iwo Jima[/i] propaganda?" (For the record, "Oh, dear God, yes." Followed by a more detailed explanation.) This astonished her. Somehow, I never did find out how, she'd gotten the impression that it was never propaganda if it came from The Good Guys. This despite the really blatant nature, which may actually have been worse from this movie, actually filmed mid-war. On 6 December, 1941, a crew of American Army Air Force personnel take off from San Francisco. They're your usual crowd of Typical Americans From Every Walk of Life. (Except the minorities. This one doesn't even seem to have a Token Jew.) Of course, in those days, it was a much longer flight, and they get to Hawaii at about six in the morning the next day, just about in time for the radio operators to mistake a squadron of Japanese Zeros for them. They end up diverting to an emergency backup field on Maui, where they are shot at by a completely imaginary squad of Fifth Columnists. So they divert to Wake Island just before it's overrun, and from there, they go to Manila just before it's bombed. So they travel from there to Australia and approximate safety. As they fly and land, fly and land, they experience the obligatory grief and heartwarming distractions. To be fair to the movie, people at the time actually did think the Pearl Harbor attack was assisted by Japanese-American residents of the island. (Though funnily enough, the film doesn't come with the Warner Apology Screen which they put in front of any cartoon with possibly offensive material.) It's only to modern eyes that it's so incredibly painful. We know that not one single act of sabotage could be attributed to any person of Japanese ancestry living in the United States. We also know, as it happens, that the Japanese living in Hawaii were not interned, because it was nigh on impossible to do so both for reasons of population and reasons of geography. (And the reason I don't call them citizens and have to dodge around the issue is that it was the law at the time that people born in Japan could not become citizens.) The thing is, we'd been underestimating the Japanese for so long that it had to be treachery and cunning, not actual military strength, which brought us down. I really didn't connect to any of the characters emotionally. They were the sort of characters who appear in any movie of this type. We even have the token guy whose enlistment is almost up and who is planning to get out. And then comes the attack, and he's more gung-ho than the career military guys. As is their wont. There's the Outsider, the Proud Father, the Green Officer, and so forth, and the reason I don't say who played which character is largely because I can't remember which character is which. Oh, John Ridgely and Gig Young, I've got. Though of course Gig Young I remember mostly for the horrific end of his life. (IMDB lists his last marriage as ending with "her death," but since he shot her and then himself, one rather feels this is because they're unable or unwilling to change their standardized listings.) I mean, by the end of the film, they've even actually acquired a Cute Little Dog! All in all, nothing really interesting here. I do think it worth mentioning that IMDB records two different fates for the real [i]Mary-Ann[/i], while Wikipedia asserts that there wasn't one to be lost in the first place and that a couple of different planes were used in filming, both of which were eventually used for training. Certainly the idea that not all men would last to the end of the War is hardly surprising--at one point, they mention going to Bataan, which won't end well for most of those who get there. The film itself acknowledges that it doesn't really know how things are going to turn out, because the war would last another two years. However, Howard Hawks notwithstanding, there isn't anything interesting about this movie relative to a lot of other movies of the same type from the same era. I mean, come on--it doesn't even have John Wayne.

    Apparently Where Over-Long Action Sequences Come From As I've mentioned a time or two, I took a film class in college. This was more than ten years ago, so there's a lot about it I've forgotten, if not necessarily the list of films we saw. And one of the first of those films, which we saw for World War II Week (it was The History of the Twentieth Century Through Film), was [i]The Sands of Iwo Jima[/i], which we will not be doing here. A group of us used to sit out in the hall outside the classroom every day, and one day, we got to talking about our test on the first three films (the other two were [i]Sullivan's Travels[/i] and [i]Mr. Smith Goes to Washington[/i]). One of the girls asked me what I had put for "Was [i]The Sands of Iwo Jima[/i] propaganda?" (For the record, "Oh, dear God, yes." Followed by a more detailed explanation.) This astonished her. Somehow, I never did find out how, she'd gotten the impression that it was never propaganda if it came from The Good Guys. This despite the really blatant nature, which may actually have been worse from this movie, actually filmed mid-war. On 6 December, 1941, a crew of American Army Air Force personnel take off from San Francisco. They're your usual crowd of Typical Americans From Every Walk of Life. (Except the minorities. This one doesn't even seem to have a Token Jew.) Of course, in those days, it was a much longer flight, and they get to Hawaii at about six in the morning the next day, just about in time for the radio operators to mistake a squadron of Japanese Zeros for them. They end up diverting to an emergency backup field on Maui, where they are shot at by a completely imaginary squad of Fifth Columnists. So they divert to Wake Island just before it's overrun, and from there, they go to Manila just before it's bombed. So they travel from there to Australia and approximate safety. As they fly and land, fly and land, they experience the obligatory grief and heartwarming distractions. To be fair to the movie, people at the time actually did think the Pearl Harbor attack was assisted by Japanese-American residents of the island. (Though funnily enough, the film doesn't come with the Warner Apology Screen which they put in front of any cartoon with possibly offensive material.) It's only to modern eyes that it's so incredibly painful. We know that not one single act of sabotage could be attributed to any person of Japanese ancestry living in the United States. We also know, as it happens, that the Japanese living in Hawaii were not interned, because it was nigh on impossible to do so both for reasons of population and reasons of geography. (And the reason I don't call them citizens and have to dodge around the issue is that it was the law at the time that people born in Japan could not become citizens.) The thing is, we'd been underestimating the Japanese for so long that it had to be treachery and cunning, not actual military strength, which brought us down. I really didn't connect to any of the characters emotionally. They were the sort of characters who appear in any movie of this type. We even have the token guy whose enlistment is almost up and who is planning to get out. And then comes the attack, and he's more gung-ho than the career military guys. As is their wont. There's the Outsider, the Proud Father, the Green Officer, and so forth, and the reason I don't say who played which character is largely because I can't remember which character is which. Oh, John Ridgely and Gig Young, I've got. Though of course Gig Young I remember mostly for the horrific end of his life. (IMDB lists his last marriage as ending with "her death," but since he shot her and then himself, one rather feels this is because they're unable or unwilling to change their standardized listings.) I mean, by the end of the film, they've even actually acquired a Cute Little Dog! All in all, nothing really interesting here. I do think it worth mentioning that IMDB records two different fates for the real [i]Mary-Ann[/i], while Wikipedia asserts that there wasn't one to be lost in the first place and that a couple of different planes were used in filming, both of which were eventually used for training. Certainly the idea that not all men would last to the end of the War is hardly surprising--at one point, they mention going to Bataan, which won't end well for most of those who get there. The film itself acknowledges that it doesn't really know how things are going to turn out, because the war would last another two years. However, Howard Hawks notwithstanding, there isn't anything interesting about this movie relative to a lot of other movies of the same type from the same era. I mean, come on--it doesn't even have John Wayne.