1940s Wing and a Prayer (1944)

Published on February 14th, 2011 | by Chris


Wing and a Prayer (1944)

Reviewed by:
On February 14, 2011
Last modified:October 4, 2012


Better than average, but still a representative of the 'wartime propaganda' genre, you should probably check out Wing and a Prayer.

Wing and a Prayer (1944)"The story of carrier X" or so the tagline says.  Presumably to try and preserve some sort of classified-ness in the Pacific fleet, since, well, things were still going on.

Wing and a Prayer is a period piece surrounding the Battle of Midway.  Mostly it takes place on board "Carrier X", or as we now know, would have been the uh... well, I can't find any actual reference to which ship this might have been, nor the deception that Carrier X was sent out to deliver.

That being to make a fast cruise around the South Pacific in hopes that the Japanese would mistake this ship for several different carriers to disguise the true strength of the Pacific fleet, and then Carrier X would lead the Japanese fleet back to Midway to be ambushed.  From what I can tell, I'm not sure this really happened.  OK, given the time, I guess we can give you that one.  No point giving away *correct* information or anything.  I dunno, maybe a historian can better fill in the blanks here....

ANYWAY.  The meat of the story follows the 5th Torpedo bomber group, led by Moulton (Dana Andrews) and the various mishaps and ultimately the battle of Midway itself....  Not sure what else to say here.  Of course there's the hard-ass flight commander Harper (Don Ameche, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Brad Pitt here).  There's also the usual cadre of characters, with a couple curveballs.  Such as Scott (William Eythe) the Oscar-winning actor turned cocky pilot.

They win some, they lose some, and of course, in the end we win.  As far as during-the-war-pictures go, however, this one really isn't that bad.  Also note the ambitious and well-done use of compositing special effects in this one.   The slanted Star Wars-like opening credits are a unique touch, and the compositing continues throughout, from the air battles, to the deck action, and everything in between.

Ultimately, though, what you've got here is a feel-good film for the folks back home.  Most of these type of films show the fighting men in good spirits, well health, and generally having a good time throughout, with bits of combat in between.  Always nice to think that your son or husband is really living this way, but I bet the reality was slightly different.

Better than average, but still a representative of the 'wartime propaganda' genre, you should probably check out Wing and a Prayer.

Also of note are the TBF Avengers used throughout the film.  You don't get to see them up-close and personal like this very often, and they're a bit of equipment usually overlooked (along with the crews) in favor of the Corsair or Hellcat fighters.  Another reason I liked this film.

Wing and a Prayer Wing and a Prayer
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Don Ameche, Dana Andrews, William Eythe and Richard Jaeckel star in this acclaimed film about newly-trained pilots assigned to an aircraft carrier immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Anticipating the battle of Midway, which will determine th

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Original Release Date:
  • Don Ameche
  • Dana Andrews
  • William Eythe
  • Charles Bickford
  • Cedric Hardwicke


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Wing and a Prayer (1944) Chris

Summary: Better than average, but still a representative of the 'wartime propaganda' genre, you should probably check out Wing and a Prayer.


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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.

One Response to Wing and a Prayer (1944)

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    I agree that from the perspective of it being made in 1944, it was not bad if your were sitting in a theater in 1944, but to watch it today is painful. The cliches are everywhere. The dialogue is trite. The planes drop torpedoes onto the Japanese carrier decks!

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