Published on June 28th, 2007 | by Chris1
Flying Leathernecks (1951)
Face it, just about any war movie made in the fifties starring John Wayne is going to be considered a classic. By default. 1951's Flying Leathernecksis deserving of the title regardless of the main character's name.
The story is a pretty standard war-time fare, about a squadron of Marine fighter pilots in WWII Pacific waters, fighting the Japanese menace. What makes this picture stand out, though is its hard line take on the reality of war, and the toll it takes on everybody from the newest green horns to the most seasoned and scarred veterans.
Major Dan Kirby (John Wayne) is the gruff but still somewhat understanding commander, who tends to take the sometimes uncomfortable path of playing by the book. We see this dichotomy early on when he first takes command of the squadron, and overlooks some of the more harmless shenanigans of his men. When it comes down to it, though, he uses some unfortunate events to drill home the facts to his Marines.
His "counter" is Captain Carl "Griff" Griffin (Robert Ryan) who disagrees with the hardline nature of Kirby, and as such keeps getting passed over for command of this squadron. In the end he comes to understand why Kirby is the way he his, I think, not that he likes it any better.
The reality of the situation is that Kirby has a job to do, which is to order men into battle and ultimately to their deaths. He has to struggle with this every day, and the final conversation between Kirby and Griffin bears this out.
There's also a lot of humor from the pilfering Line Chief Sgt. Clancy (Jay C. Flippen), but I'm betting that's just there to keep the tone a bit lighter than it otherwise would have been. And that is probably a good thing.
Another aspect of this film that shines is the brilliant editing of documentary footage into the action. A lot of those images were (and still are) pretty harsh reminders of the danger these guys had to deal with. And there's plenty of airborne dogfighting and ground support action to be had.
Speaking of, part of this film seems to try to document the struggle to get the Marine brass to accept the role of close air support in ground combat operations. I found that an interesting statement to be making in a film of this era, and seems to echo sentiments that exist about tactics to this very day.
We also see a side of Kirby that puts him down to earth with the rest of us, his connection to his wife and kids back home, and how they deal with his service.
If you're in the mood for a great piece of aviation action that falls somewhere between the flag-waving and the dark-and-dirty then Flying Leathernecks is one to see.
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Flying Leathernecks (DVD) (Commemorative Amaray)John Wayne is a no-nonsense WWII squadron leader whose unforgiving style clashes with that of his fellow officer, Robert Ryan. But when called into action over Guadalcanal, he bravely leads his men to victory and earns the respect of all...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: TURNER HM ENTERTAINM
Original Release Date:
- John Wayne
- Robert Ryan
- Don Taylor
- Janis Carter
- Jay C. Flippen
- It's World War II. Major Dan Kirby (John Wayne) is hard on his marines. His subordinate Captain Carl Griffin thinks the Major is overdoing it. But Kirby proves that there is a method to his madness after all.Running Time: 102 min. Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: NR Age: 053939791327 UPC: 053939791327 Manufacturer No: T7913
Great portrayal of Marine Close Air Support and Unit Lessons Still True Today,
This review is from: Flying Leathernecks (DVD)
Good tale of introduction of "Close Air Support" in WWII plus valuable lessons in following orders, team work, and difference between leadership role and just one of the guys.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
What it takes from and gives to men for war,
This review is from: Flying Leathernecks (DVD)
I was a carrier fighter pilot in ww2 and flew both Grumman Hellcats and F4u Corsairs. Enough said. Don't often find
them flying in the movies especially both aircraft. I would like to purchase 4 more copies. Can you arrange that?
The camera work was fantastic as it took me right back into the cockpit. I'm a former Canadian Naval Officer on loan
to the Royal Navy at the time and few off British carriers where these two aircraft came by Lend Lease from the US. The Corsair was the fastest low level attack plane in the war which made it ideal in it's job for the US and Royal Marines backing up the Army on the ground as alluded to in the DVD.
A great Movie.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
One of 10 best war movies ever,
This review is from: They Were Expendable/Flying Leathernecks (DBFE) (DVD)THEY WERE EXPENDABLE
Maybe because I was just a little kid, and the war was still raging, (1945) but nearing an end. Maybe it was partially because my grandfather took me to see this movie as he took me to see other movies every Saturday, and maybe it was because my Polio was gone and I could walk and run again, but mostly because my uncle was the skipper of a PT boat and knew JFK. Great Direction by John Ford, with his regular crew plus Robert Montgomery, (John Wayne, Donna Reed, Ward Bond) and many other great stars gave outstanding performances in an authentic, tropic ambiance displayed convincingly, though in Black and white.
The missions, struggles, disappointments, amiable characters just doing a very tough, under-appreciated job in plywood PT boat's which the navy and marines didn't entirely trust.
The secondary question was; would Monty and The Duke bring home a winner, or switch to submarines?
This is a short intro of the coming of age of... Read more
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Summary: If you're in the mood for a great piece of aviation action that falls somewhere between the flag-waving and the dark-and-dirty then Flying Leathernecks is one to see.