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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Eagle And The Hawk (1933)

In WWI, an American pilot (Fredric March) is assigned to the reconnaissance section in France where it's his job to get photographs behind enemy lines. But as he sees the death of so many of his comrades including the gunners who fly with him, he begins to crack up. Directed by Stuart Walker, this pre-code war film is seemingly and openly anti-war in its sentiments which makes the ironic conclusion a bit of a mixed message. The film manages to avoid the usual war movie cliches and there's a very effective performance by March as the flyer who becomes more cynical about war and bravery until he spirals into an alcoholic depression. For a movie about WWI pilots, there's precious little aerial sequences (unlike WINGS or HELL'S ANGELS) but I suppose Walker preferred to concentrate on characterization rather than visuals. There's also a neat performance by a pre-stardom Cary Grant as a gunner with a huge chip on his shoulder and Carole Lombard shows up for about 5 minutes as a society beauty who has a dalliance with March. With Jack Oakie as the unnecessary comic relief and Sir Guy Standing.

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