Wing and a Prayer (1944)

Wing and a Prayer (1944), directed by Henry Hathaway.

Life in an air squadron on a aircraft carrier early in WW2. Don Ameche and Dana Andrews are good and I always enjoy seeing Charles Bickford (does he ever smile?), here as the grizzled captain. (I see in his bio: "He was a boisterous child, and at nine was tried and acquitted for attempted murder in the shooting of a motorman who had run over his dog." He was blacklisted at the studios for being quarrelsome and was mauled by a lion once. Nominated for three Oscars).

Some exciting carrier operations and combat footage, more skillfully integrated into the film than is usual in this period.

The weakness is that 3/4 of the time is taken up with human interest soap opera. As is common with these wartime stories, too many of the men are quasi-comic "characters"; it's slow and gets old.

During the climactic battle a bomber kamikazes into the water to detonate a torpedo headed for the carrier. That's ludicrous; if it actually ever happened I apologize and take it back.

According to the wikipedia article:


The film loosely portrays actual historic events related mainly with the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway. The scenario is, however, intentionally changed in order to justify the initial defensive rather than offensive posture of a US Navy reeling from the early Japanese victories in 1942. The Battle of the Coral Sea is justified as a calculated plot to deceive the Japanese into believing that the U.S. fleet was scattered and vulnerable, while the Battle of Midway is depicted as the eventual springing of this carefully laid trap which thereby caught the enemy at a disadvantage. In actuality, the losses at Pearl Harbor and the numerical superiority of the Japanese had the Americans operating constantly on the defensive in the early period of the Pacific war. It was mainly superior military intelligence, specifically the breaking of the Japanese code, that made possible the crushing American victory at Midway.