1940s Captains of the Clouds (1942)

Published on September 17th, 2007 | by Chris

0

Captains of the Clouds (1942)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On September 17, 2007
Last modified:October 8, 2012

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.

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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Description

Brian McLean is a ruthless bush-pilot in Canada. He offers some other pilots an opportunity of earning a lot of money, but he marries the girl-friend of one of them. After listening to Churchill's famous "Blood, Sweat and tears" radio address he and some other pilots decide to join the RCAF - and his superior is always the pilot who's girlfriend he has married...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio:
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Warner Manufacturing
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • James Cagney
  • Dennis Morgan
  • Brenda Marshall
  • Alan Hale
  • George Tobias

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Note to aviation enthusiasts, May 10, 2015
By 
C. Andrews (Wentzville MO) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Spoilers! Cocky bush pilot Cagney steals jobs and a girl from a group of five other bush pilots (with floatplane equipped Fairchild, Norseman and Waco). After being saved by the other pilot in the love triangle who fetches a doctor, the tables are turned when they steal one of his jobs. He goes into partnership with two for the winter, and after getting to know them, he saves the one with big dreams by marrying the gold digger. The chump joins the RCAF and Cagney abandons the hussy, even though they are two of a kind.

Four pilots meet up later after blowing their wads, and decide to fly to the nearest RCAF training base at Uplands and join up. They discover they are too old to fly in combat, but suitable to become instructors (on a fleld with Ansons, Harvards, Yales and Finches). They meet up with their old buddy, who is one of many officers who must pass judgement on their flying abilities. Cagney is given a second chance at RCAF Jarvis Bombing and Gunnery base... Read more
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old-Fashioned But Interesting History Lesson, June 1, 2007
By 
E S (san jacinto, ca United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captains of the Clouds (DVD)
This is definitely a period piece, but well-done and in color as well. It would be of most interest to film buffs but it deals with some interesting history as well.

I write this partly from the perspective of a family interest in the Commonwealth Air Training program which is the focus of the last half of the film and which has many shots of the real personnel. I hoped that I might see my father in this (but didn't). This program was the major source of aircrew for the British Allies, and since the US didn't enter the war until late 1941, and Western Europe was defeated or collaborating, that's all there were fighting the Nazis for quite some time.

It was interesting to see the real Billy Bishop, the WWI Canadian fighter ace and then Marshall of the Air Force addressing actual graduating cadets who hailed from all over the world, not just the old Commonwealth, and included many Americans who volunteered before the US entered the war. It was sobering to... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Film of "Captains of the Clouds" , a treasure!, January 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Captains of the Clouds (DVD)
I ordered this video because my husband (who has died 4 years ago) was in theairforce and trained at the Manning depot which was housed in the Horse Palace in the Toronto Exhibition Grounds in 1942.. He could have been in one of the scenes shown which were taken of the actually training at that place. He went on to be an officer in Bomber Command so this film in especialy special to me. I haven't had a chance to view the actual video which I received a few days ago because of the holidays but i iewed this film afew weeks ago onTV and I loved it. I'm sure it will be all right since all the other films I have received from you have been excellent. Thankyou very much.
5 stars Doris Anderson
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Captains of the Clouds (1942) Chris

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.

2.5


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



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