This fine WW II film stars Gary Cooper as a Navy officer who leads the efforts to prove the tactical and strategic effectiveness of carrier-based airplanes to the Navy. The battle begins in 1921, when Cooper and his enthusiastic group of men try to prove to their superiors that planes
can be landed on the decks of ships. He and his buddy, Brennan, make several landings but the dubious top brass put only one carrier into service. Named the Langley, the small ship has a dangerously short, 65-foot deck. Still convinced his ideas are valuable to the military, Cooper ventures to the
nation's capital and lobbies for the construction of bigger and better carriers. There he meets Wyatt, the widow of an old friend, and the two begin a romance. While at a party, Cooper gets into an argument with a Japanese diplomat as to viability of naval aviation, loses his temper, and insults
the diplomat, resulting in his being given a desk job in Panama as punishment. While Cooper is pushing papers in Central America, however, the Navy finally builds more carriers, and he is eventually assigned to serve on the USS Saratoga. He is subsequently injured during an exercise and undergoes
a long convalescence in the hospital, during which time his relationship with Wyatt deepens. Upon his release, they are married. When Pearl Harbor is attacked, Cooper is given command of his own aircraft carrier. At Okinawa his ship suffers heavy damage from kamikaze planes and looks as if it will
be lost, but Cooper stays at the helm and manages to make it back to the States, where he is finally and completely vindicated when the use of aircraft carriers proves to be extremely effective in the Pacific warfare.
Graced with a strong cast, professional direction, and lots of stunning color battle footage (though most of the film is black-and-white), TASK FORCE is an interesting and exciting war film. Cooper is fine as the Navy man who finds he must also play the role of diplomat in trying to persuade the
government to make a firm commitment to naval aviation. Director-writer Delmer Daves strikes an interesting contrast between the frustratingly slow bureaucratic machinery that must be served before implementing the new technology and the fast, violent, and deadly battles for which naval aviation
was created. A word of warning: some television prints may be entirely black and white.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: This fine WW II film stars Gary Cooper as a Navy officer who leads the efforts to prove the tactical and strategic effectiveness of carrier-based airplanes to the Navy. The battle begins in 1921, when Cooper and his enthusiastic group of men try to prove t… (more)