This salute to the Army Air Corps (as the U.S. Air Force was then called) is packed with exciting aerial sequences and special effects as air cadets Milland, Holden, and Morris go after their wings. They are from divergent walks of life, Milland a Manhattan playboy (a background undoubtedly awarded because of his subtle British accent), Holden a tough garage...read more
This salute to the Army Air Corps (as the U.S. Air Force was then called) is packed with exciting aerial sequences and special effects as air cadets Milland, Holden, and Morris go after their wings. They are from divergent walks of life, Milland a Manhattan playboy (a background undoubtedly
awarded because of his subtle British accent), Holden a tough garage mechanic, and Morris a college athlete. Their ramrod instructor is Donlevy, who goes by the book and does everything humanly possible to wash out his nervous trainees. Director Leisen and his film crew arrived at Randolph Field,
Texas (shooting was also conducted at Kelly Field in Texas) just as a group of new recruits appeared and the director wisely threw his actors into the same training program, filming their story along with that of the new trainees, and throwing in Moore and Lake--the latter appearing in her film
debut--to add the romantic touch. The appearance of the ladies, especially Lake peeking around her long golden hairdo, was later soundly criticized as superfluous. Moore is a lady photographer with her eyes on Milland; Lake is a vamp tramping after Holden. Leisen manages to make the various ground
and air training phases interesting and interjects some spine-tingling aerial sequences. The film won an Oscar nomination for Best Special Effects. In one hedge-hopping scene, the planes almost touch the ground; Morris' plane does, and he's killed. Holden eventually washes out, but Milland comes
through with flying colors and gets his wings. One of the most spectacular scenes shows a huge bomber crash-landing in the desert. The original director of this film was Ted Weeks but he only lasted two weeks, treating officers and enlisted men as if they were Paramount extras. When some planes
flew overhead, ruining a ground shot he was directing, Weeks screamed at a general: "Get those planes out of the air." Leisen replaced him immediately. It was for this film that producer Hornblow changed Constance Keane's name to Veronica Lake; since her original name was Ockleman it was all the
same to Ms. Lake.
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