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John Wayne is pretty good as tough as nails Major Kirby, a role very similar to his role as Sergeant Stryker that earned him a Best Actor nomination. Robert Ryan gives a decent performance as Captain Griffin, who Kirby believes is not ready to take over command of the squadron. Wayne and Ryan work well together throughout. Don Taylor plays Griffin's brother-in-law and fellow squadron member. Jay C. Flippen has a very funny role as Master Sergeant Clancy, Kirby's line chief who has a talent for taking things that are just lying around. Like all Duke movies, I hope this one gets a DVD release since the VHS is not in the best of shape. For an enjoyable Duke adventure, check out Flying Leathernecks!
Best Actor: John Wayne
Best Supporting Actor: Robert Ryan and for
Best Special Effects.
If you were in the Marine Corps, and if you want to see some old war planes, like Corsairs, Wildcats, a PBY seaplane, and a real harsh look at what Marine Corps pilots went through in WWII, give this movie a try. I recemend it to anyone who served in the Marines, John Wayne fans, and models buffs. Semper Fi Go Marines.
The movie centers around two things. First, it shows the usage of military planes providing close ground support. Repeatedly, everyone mentions it can't be done, but the Duke and his group continue to show that it is viable. Second, we see the agonies of command.
John Wayne is a major who is not always liked by his subordinates. He is a career military man trying to keep his team, mostly young college men, alive by enforcing discipline. He drives them relentlessly as the executive officer tries to ease up on them. By the end of the movie, the executive officer gets an explanation on why it is necessary for commanders to push their men.
For military film buffs or John Wayne fans, I would highly recommend seeing this movie.
Major Dan Kirby (John Wayne) is commander of a Marine Corps fighting unit sent to Guadalcanal to give support to the ground troops... He is short of planes and pilots, and drives his men to the point of complete breakdown...
The executive officer, Griff (Robert Ryan) objects to Kirby's hard treatment of the men, but he lets his human feelings cloud his judgment... For a soldier that is bad... Kirby is recalled to the States to train pilots in his new low-level attack technique, and before leaving he informs Griff that he does not consider him fit to command... He hasn't yet got the guts to lead...
When they are reunited later, the hostility between them is intense... An emergency arises, and there is a scramble to get into the air to intercept a formation of Japanese bombers...
In the air, Griff's brother-in-law develops engine trouble, turns back and suddenly finds Japanese fighters on his tail... He radios for help... It is Griff's decision... Reluctantly, he commands his men to proceed... They are not to turn back...
Ray was a dynamic, socially conscious director with a keen visual sense and a gift for attaining fluid motion on the screen... He was more comfortable with the darker shadings of 'Rebel Without a Cause' and 'Johnny Guitar,' but he gets fine performances from his stars...
Wayne's strict discipline play well against Ryan's angry intensity, even if everyone in the audience understands that they're going to wind up on the same side by the end of the film...
The air combats shots are impressive but Ray never really puts the viewer in the airplane the way the best flying films do... Nothing here comes close to John Guillermin's 'The Blue Max', 1966 or even Howard Hughes' 'Hell's Angels', 1930.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A classic film for the whole family. My son loves John Wayne and with so many modern movies being made today that are not appropriate, this is a nice treat. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Love to read
Major Dan (John Wayne) has the dubious task of dealing with pilots who lack discipline. The reason they are slipshod is due to the bad example of Captain Carl (Robert Ryan). Read morePublished 8 days ago by Einsatz
I disagree with those who dismiss this movie as just another jingoistic war picture. Next to "The Sands of Iwo Jima" and perhaps "The Fighting Seabees", I consider... Read morePublished 1 month ago by just me
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