Published on September 17th, 2007 | by Chris0
Captains of the Clouds (1942)
What? There was a Canadian Air Force during World War II? Who knew!?
Well, 1942's Captains of the Clouds takes us into the Canadian Air Force, which looks to have been kinda-sorta an arm of the RAF. The big problem though is it takes half the movie, with a strange and convoluted love-story plot to get us there. So basically we're talking about two movies in one, as there isn't much connecting the two "segments" except the characters.
The story starts in the wilds of Canada following the exploits of a few "bush pilots", most notably Johnny Dutton (Dennis Morgan) and the conniving new arrival Brian MacLean (James Cagney.) Throw in a few "second string" pilots like "Blimp Lebec" (George Tobias), "Tiny" Murphy (Alan Hale), and "Scrounger" Harris (Reginald Gardiner).
The problem is that Johnny's Fiancee, Emily (Brenda Marshall) takes a liking to MacLean after an accident, and proves herself to be quite the unworthy wife candidate for Johnny, as MacLean steals her away just to get her away from Johnny, then dumps her.
Of course Johnny finds out, and throws away his dream of starting an airline to join the RCAF. A short time later, the rest of his bush pilot friends join up, including MacLean, and they all end up in "training" roles, since they're just too old to be adequate combat pilots.
Well, MacLean's "maverick" style gets him booted, and in a crazy stunt, "Tiny" gets killed in another pilot's plane.
But later, as they're all called up to fly a trans-atlantic mission to deliver some bombers to Britain, who should show up but MacLean, under the auspices of "Tiny" Murphy.
They fly the mission, and in a last effort to prove his worthiness, MacLean is killed (along with the rest of the initial gang, save Johnny.) And the picture's done.
So really that's about all there is to it. Sure its a mildly entertaining couple of hours, and Cagney is his usual gruff and likable (un-likable?) self. Admittedly, Marshall's presence steals the first half of the show. But for the most part this is just your average Saturday matinee fare. I'd watch Captains of the Clouds if it were on and nothing else was, but I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to catch it, unless you're a big Cagney fan, or you really want a glimpse into the RCAF.
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Summary: for the most part this is just your average Saturday matinee fare. I'd watch Captains of the Clouds if it were on and nothing else was, but I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to catch it, unless you're a big Cagney fan, or you really want a glimpse into the RCAF.