Bombardier (1943)

Laughing Gravy
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Laughing Gravy
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Joined: September 1st, 2005, 4:44 am

March 17th, 2018, 4:52 pm #1

Bombardier (1943) Dir. Richard Wallace
An RKO Radio Picture
99 min. / B&W / 1.33:1

DVD: Warner Archive

1939, and the establishment of the first bombardier school, at Kirtland Army Air Field, New Mexico. Major Pat O'Brien is fiercely protective of his men but equally excited about the "new form" of warfare: long-range precision bombing. Old school flyboy Capt. Randolph Scott thinks it'll never replace good old-fashioned dive bombing, though. Cadets Robert Ryan, Eddie Albert, and Walter Reed are a-gonna find out, and pretty secretary Anne Shirley can't figure out which one she likes. Well sir, one Sunday morning church is interrupted with news from Pearl Harbor, and we're all going to find out how good these baby bombardiers are.

Historically, mixed reviews for this film, but I got all swept up in it and loved the darn thing. Interestingly, it skips opening credits and goes right into the debate about precision bombing, so the first hour of the film - even with its drama, bit o' romance, and even a little comedy - seems as though we're really watching a documentary (being filmed on location helps). We're reminded a few times that training is dangerous, too. And then the war begins and the final two reels, over and in Japan, are exciting and thrilling and YEAH, this is a 100% patriotic film, but what th' heck: with what passes for patriotism THESE days, I'll take it.

Million-dollar Dialog:
"Those of you who pull through will have learned the three greatest things in a bombardier's existence: Hit the target. Hit the target. Hit the target."

A nice print on the DVD from Warner Archive. This one's a gem.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley