This is an exceptional WWII War Film. WWII, a defining moment in America’s History. My own father entered WWII at 16 years old in the U.S. NAVY. He was a Radarman and Boilersmate. And he was assigned carrying Troops across the Atlantic on the USS MARINE RAVEN. My Grandfather was in the U.S. ARMY. So was my Aunt and three Uncles fighting and Landing on OMAHA BEACH ON D-DAY, Battle of the Bulge, and other Battles as one was with General Patton. The stories they told as I hid in the dark listening to their War Talk when they got together would always send chills up my neck. But they did what America expected of them. They served.
But this Movie I’ve see three times and I really enjoy seeing the Flying in it. I hope you’ll take a minute and watch a very good Movie.
Wing and a Prayer, The Story of Carrier X (also known as Queen of the Flat Tops and Torpedo Squadron Eight) is a black-and-white 1944 war film about the heroic crew of an American carrier in the desperate early days of World War II in the Pacific theater, directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Don Ameche, Dana Andrews and William Eythe. Although arguably a classic propaganda movie, it was appreciated for its realistic portrayal and was nominated for the 1944 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
|Wing and a Prayer, The Story of Carrier X|
|1944 theatrical poster|
|Directed by||Henry Hathaway|
|Produced by||Walter MoroscoWilliam Bacher|
|Written by||Jerome Cady|
|Starring||Don AmecheDana AndrewsWilliam Eythe|
|Music by||Hugo Friedhofer|
|Edited by||J. Watson Webb Jr.|
|Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release date||July 24, 1944|
|Running time||97 min|
In the days just after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the American people are asking “Where is our navy? Why doesn’t it fight?” Gravely weakened by the disaster, the US Navy comes up with a plan to trap the Japanese by using one carrier to imitate a fleet in order to deceive the Japanese Navy into heading for Midway, where they will be attacked. Meanwhile, on the carrier charged with the mission (“Carrier X”), flight commander Bingo Harper is in charge of the bomber crews that shouldered the burden in the desperate early days of the war. He is tough and sticks to the rules, while his young pilots behave more like youngsters and do not always understand his thinking.
A new squadron led by Lieutenant Commander Edward Moulton is assigned to the carrier. From the first landing, Harper notices a careless attitude by ex-Hollywood Academy Award–winning star, Ensign Hallam “Oscar” Scott. Harper warns Moulton that the squadron’s safety cannot be jeopardized and any repeat of the sloppiness will not be tolerated. Moulton does his best with his men, but is far from having absolute control. During a bombing run, Ensign Breinard drops a bomb close to the carrier and Harper grounds him. After winning the Navy Cross for actions at Coral Sea, Ensign Cunningham fails to follow the correct takeoff procedure and ditches his aircraft into the sea: Harper forbids him to fly again. Later, Cunningham saves the ship in a suicide attack on a torpedo from a Japanese aircraft.
In the meantime, a message is received from Navy headquarters. The carrier is ordered to travel deep into enemy waters, near the Solomon Islands, and make its presence known in order to deceive the Japanese about American fleet dispositions and intentions. However, they are under strict orders not to fight. When Moulton’s bombers encounter some Japanese aircraft, they follow orders and retreat, but two aircraft are lost. Not knowing the plan, the pilots are furious. This is repeated several times in other widely-separated locations, driving the aviators to the brink of rebellion. The carrier, however, accomplishes its mission as the Japanese believe that the sightings are of different American carriers, not just one.
Finally, the long-prepared trap is sprung. Deceived into believing that the American carriers are scattered across the Pacific, the Japanese are taken by surprise when the concentrated American fleet attacks their carriers. Many pilots are lost, but the Americans win a great victory. However, the last bomber, flown by Scott and very low on fuel, has trouble finding their carrier, which is concealed below low clouds. Moulton begs Harper to turn on the searchlights to guide him in, but Harper refuses to risk betraying the carrier’s location to any Japanese submarines that may be lurking nearby. Eventually, Scott’s aircraft is heard crashing into the water when it runs out of fuel. Moulton and Harper quarrel, but in a few minutes, it is reported that Scott has been picked up by a destroyer. Harper explains that he cares for all his pilots, but is willing to sacrifice a few for the success of the mission.