1940s Air Force (1943)

Published on February 11th, 2007 | by Chris

0

Air Force (1943)

Review of: Air Force (1943)

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On February 11, 2007
Last modified:October 4, 2012

Summary:

The point of this film was to get people "on our side" and in that it succeeds wildly.

 

Ah context.  Context is everything, especially when you're watching war films of this era.  You've got the Hayes office, the Dept. of War, and in the end, you get propaganda films like 1943's Air Force.

Of course, that's not to say that this is a bad film.  On the contrary, this is actually quite a good movie.  I really wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was.  You actually "get to know" the crew of the Mary-Ann, a B-17 that was (well, in this movie anyway) part of the group that was on its way to Hickham Field on Dec. 7, 1941.  The attachment to this crew you'll develop is pretty impressive.

You'll follow the crew all the way from before Hawaii, all the way to their involvement in the attack on a Japanese fleet on their way to Australia.  It's funny, too, how they make a special point to call out the importance and "secret-ness" of the Norden bomb sights and how they can't fall into enemy hands... during the height of the war in 1943!  Surprised "they" let that pass the censors!

Also impressive are the special effects here, especially considering the time this was made.  You'll find yourself believing most of it.  Sure there are several shots where the models are evident, but there are quite a few that make you wonder.  And the interspersing of the effects shots with actual stock footage is nearly imperceptible.

And, yes, this film is historically *in*accurate.  A lot of the events never took place, or didn't happen as portrayed, sure.  That's not the point.  The point of this film was to get people "on our side" and in that it succeeds wildly.

All of the acting is fair-to-good.  I really can't flaw anyone on their performances here.  Not too much anyway.  And its actually pretty "raw" for a film of its time.

So if you're in the market for a good "Saturday Matinee" style war movie, Air Force is just the ticket.

...

PS: When I saw this on Turner Classic Movies, it was followed by an interesting 1943 propaganda newsreel called 'Plan For Destruction.'  It was a surprisingly long and academic (if overly dramatic) look at Germany's rise to power in the 30's and 40's, and some of the causes for it.  It made a nice bookend for the movie.  Glad to see things like this come "off the shelf" once and a while.  You can just imagine movie audiences watching this movie, jeering the Japs and cheering our boys, and then watching this bit and coming out mad-as-hell!!

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Description

There was no better director than Howard Hawks at depicting group action. Because of his sense of character and pacing, Air Force transcends its propaganda purpose. It's well crafted all the way around, from the acting to the writing to the aerial fighting to James Wong Howe's painstakingly striking cinematography...

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Average Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, not so great title, February 1, 2016
By 
Phil A. (Bemidji, MN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Air Force (Amazon Video)
Deeper more involved plotlines than the typical WWII production. It's kind of unfortunate they chose such a generic title! I'm not going to take time to say what everyone else has. It's a keeper.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Give 'em hell!, June 5, 2016
By 
AlanA (Stanford, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Air Force (Amazon Video)
One of the best WWII era action/propoganda films made. Howard Hawkes made these an artform, and the excellent cast of character actors of the era help make it believeable. You have your classic wise-cracking, plucky American multi-cultural (for the time) crew which includes an Italian, a Jew, a Pole, and a Texan. For the era, the action sequences are very good with clever editing which combines actual combat footage with models and such. The B&W print is great, and the soaring score by the great Franz Waxman will make you want to give 'em hell yourself!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Air Force is a vintage WWII film about a B-17 ..., August 15, 2015
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This review is from: Air Force (Amazon Video)
Air Force is a vintage WWII film about a B-17 bomber crew ferrying a plane to Hawaii on Dec. 6, 1941. It was made in the early years of the war and while it accurately reflects the response to the Japanese attack on Hawaii, Wake Is., and the Philipines, it misrepresents the effect of our early counterattacks. However, the makers are to be forgiven because the film was intended to lift our morale, and it certainly did that. I was 10 at the time and recall the fear and apprehension most of us felt at the time. I have watched "Air Force" many time over the past 60 to 70 years and treasure it more each time that I do.
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Air Force (1943) Chris

Summary: The point of this film was to get people "on our side" and in that it succeeds wildly.

3.5


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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