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Monday, November 7, 2016

Strategic Air Command (1955)

An ex-WWII pilot (James Stewart) plays professional baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals in his civilian life. He gets recalled for active duty when the Air Force needs experienced pilots to test fly the newest planes. His dutiful wife (June Allyson) travels with him to a Texas air force base where he takes up his new duties. Directed by Anthony Mann, this was the 8th and final pairing of the actor director team and also Stewart's 3rd and final pairing with Allyson. The film comes off as an expensive recruitment ad for the U.S. Air Force. As long as it's in the air, the film is okay but on the ground, the tedious domestic scenes are a chore to sit through. Allyson doesn't have much to do other than wring her hands worrying about her husband in between cooking bacon and eggs for him. Stewart is at his worst "aw shucks" stammering persona. But for aviation buffs, the film is a treat for the aerial sequences. That B-36 is a thing of beauty and the sequences of it flying in the clouds accompanied by Victor Young's lovely theme is practically an air ballet. With Frank Lovejoy, Barry Sullivan, Jay C. Flippen, Alex Nicol, Bruce Bennett and Rosemary DeCamp as Allyson's mother although she's only 7 years older.  

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