Published on September 13th, 2010 | by Chris1
Bombers B-52 (1957)
Take a story that likely resonated with a lot of people circa 1957, add in a dash of romance with an attractive leading lady, an overprotective father figure, and top it off with lots of cold war paranoia… oh, and I almost forgot. AIRPLANES. Lots of them. Big ones. Like the B-52. Yeah, now you’re getting somewhere.
Bombers B-52 starts off with a story that a lot of guys could probably relate to in 1957. A good portion of them either went to Korea, or at the very least made it back from Europe or the Pacific. A significant fraction of them likely “stayed in” after the war. Much like Master Sgt. and Line Chief Chuck Brennan (Karl Malden). He’s now on the front lines of the Cold War, “keeping them flying” so-to-speak as the maintenance man for the Air Force’s superweapons…. And his daughter, Lois (Natalie Wood) who wants so much more for dear-old-dad, that he should “get out” and join the private sector.
Ah, but along comes Col. Herlihy (Efram Zimbalist Jr.) to take over base operations. Did I mention that the last time Herlihy and Brennan met, was in Korea? As Herlihy’s orders to put his plane back into the air so he could get to Tokyo for leave got several of Brennan’s men killed? Ouch. Wouldn’t you know it, Lois happens to catch Herlihy’s eye. And you know where that is going.
But forget that. Forget all of that. The real stars of this picture are the aircraft. The brand spanking new B-52 Stratofortress. The biggest (still!) bomber ever flown (still!) by the US. There’s a non-zero probability that some of the aircraft in this picture may still be flying today! Now that is awesome. Anyway.
OK, so you could say that “Bombers” is probably a Cold War “propaganda” film, pure and simple. Justification for the ungodly amount of money spent on new aircraft (and there were a lot of them in those days.) For the paranoia, for experts like Brennan to get back into (or stay) in uniform and keep those pesky Reds off our backs. And you’d likely be right.
Oh, and the rest of the story isn’t that bad, either. The romance angle is well-played and funny, and the “getting out” vs. “staying in” story also. It is kind of funny, in an unintended way, to see the beginnings of our American suburbun culture’s roots here.
Cheesy? Yeah. Full of airplanes? Hell, yeah. What else is there to say? High ratings just because.
Bombers B-52 (1957) [DVD]
U.S. Air Force pilot Jim Herlihy (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) is in love with Lois Brennan (Natalie Wood), much to the disapproval of her sergeant father (Karl Malden). There is romance and action in this flight film set against the backdrop of riveting aerial footage of jet plane maneuvers.
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Original Release Date:
- Color, Widescreen, NTSC
- BONUS FEATURES:
- Classic Cartoon: Boyhood Dayz
- Theatrical trailer
Bombers B-52 (1957) [DVD]
Natalie Wood Collection (Splendor in the Grass / Sex and the Single Girl / Inside Daisy Clover / Gypsy / Bombers B-52 / Cash McCall)
Bombers B-52 [VHS]
Summary: Cheesy? Yeah. Full of airplanes? Hell, yeah. What else is there to say?