|A Wing and a Prayer (The Story of Carrier X) [VHS]
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Don Ameche, Dana Andrews, William Eythe and Richard Jaeckel star in this acclaimed film about newly-trained pilots assigned to an aircraft carrier immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Anticipating the battle of Midway, which will determine the future of the war in the Pacific, U.S. naval leaders attempt to lull the Japanese into a false sense of security by making it look like the American military is afraid to engage the enemy. Eager to fight, the young airmen aboard the carrier are not only confused and angered by their orders, but must also cope with a by-the-book officer (Ameche) who puts discipline and regulations above all else.
- Excellent photography
IMHO one can't beat black and white photography. This movie is very crisp and clear while the sound is also to be marveled at. ...more info
- Wing and a Prayer DVD
Difficult classic movie on DVD to find! Great price,fast Shipment, good communucation and the product arrived in good condition! What more could you want? Recommend this seller! Thanks!
- Worst of All Time
If anyone pays attention to the "plot" (or LACK thereof) the plot of the film is so implausible as to be laughable! No ships' Captain would EVER offer his ship and his men to be a sitting duck without first making certain his pilots were trained and under orders to shoot first and ask questions later, rather than BEG to be killed. Also, this film apparently did not have any military consultants. The pilots were swapping aircraft types in mid-air and the ship kept changing from one to another. This film was HILARIOUS!...more info
- THE FLEET THAT CAME TO STAY!!
I was twelve  years old when I saw this movie on a Saturday afternoon at a neighborhood theater...It had a powerful impact on my immature grasp of things then...it is a beautiful made movie during the anxious WW2 years about the US Navy and its pilots...just listen to the inspiring/heroic musical score by Hugo W. Friedhofer [kudos to him] and the easy; yet, Naval discipline as it flows so naturally under the direction of Henry Hathaway...forget the nit-pickers that drag on in here...the United States was losing the War in early 1942, I say again, losing the war all the way down to the tip of Australia...movies like the "Wing" made morale on the home/front soar as high as our Navy flyers could take it...by 1944 when this wonderful film was released, the USA was on the threshold of victory all the way to Tokyo...it was a long dirty way to Tokyo as The Captain alluded to...everytime I see this movie, I see my dearest friend recreated in the role played by Dana Andrews aloft in his Grumman Avenger [TBF]...he was decorated with the Navy Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross for heroic actions against the Japanese Imperial Fleet..movies of this genre will stand the test of time immemorial...the studio bosses knew how to make real movies in this era...I had my WAR in Korea and I [we] know what it takes to defeat America's enemies and this movie, "Wing and a Prayer" demostrates that ever so clearly as the carrier heads for the battle of Midway in 1942....I ask you, "Where were you in 1942"??..Semper Fidelis...SSGT CHRIS SARNO-USMC FMF. ...more info
- I wanted to see a good WWII Navy movie. This is it.
I also know history. This isn't. Yes, there was a Battle of Midway. After that... No matter. lots of action scenes, many of the scenes were actors performing in front of newsreel footage in what we now call a blue screen. Years later we're all so smart it almost seems quaint & we may chuckle. But it is excellent for it's time, which was wartime.
The U.S. military, paranoid as they are, covered up the battle & this movie for a long time. They publicized the Dolittle Tokyo raid which happened a few weeks before to boost the public morale. I would have thought our smashing victory at Midway might have had the same positive effect & a negative one on the Japanese.
The plot: The aircraft carrier USS X was traveling at light speed all over the Pacific so the enemy would think we had lots of carriers. It was traveling without it's escort ships which a carrier never does. It's too valuable. Then our pilots were to fly off the carrier but never engage enemy pilots. They are to run away, so the enemy thinks we are cowards. Of course, the enemy pilots would never think of following them back to their carrier which they could promptly sink since it has none of its escort ships. As history it is totally bogus but as a movie it is great. So I'm sorry if I'm critical. Dana Andrews, William Elthey & Henry Morgan etc. did good imitations of Navy pilots. They flew torpedo planes. In the movie they did a lot of damage & some of them survived. As we now know all the torpedo pilots went down & none of their torpedos hit a Japanese ship (some torpedoes were defective). This does not diminish their heroism or sacrifice. Don Ameche was exceptionally good as the stern, by the book, Cmdr. Bingo Harper. He is cast as the villian all the men love to hate. But he had the toughest job on the ship. I've seen worse than him in peacetime. One of the better war movies.
- O.K. Movie, But Lots of Inaccuracies
Don Ameche (Cmndr. Bingo Harper) and Dana Andrews (Lt. Cmndr Edward Moulton) star in this movie that supposedly describes the Battle of Midway in 1942, but there are numerous inaccuracies that leave the viewer wondering what it is they are actually viewing.
The basic plot of the movie goes something like this. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the American public was wondering where their Navy was. It appeared to them that the Navy had gone into hiding and was actually afraid to face the Japanese fleet. "Carrier X" was dispatched to lull the Japanese into thinking that the American fleet was scattered all over the Pacific ocean, when in reality, they were positioned off of Midway, ready to intercept the Japanese fleet which was intent on invading Hawaii.
Cmndr. Moulton and his squadron of TBF torpedo bomber pilots have just landed on the carrier, and Cmndr. Harper takes command of the squadron. Inflexible and strictly by-the-book, many men in the squadron soon take a disliking to Harper.
During their voyage, the men are told to refrain from engaging enemy pilots, being told to return to their carrier rather than shoot it out with the Japanese. Activities are limited to recon flights and target bombing practice. The men become more and more frustrated with the non-combat strategy. Finally, the Captain tells the crew that they are about to sail to Midway to join in battle against the Japanese fleet. Relieved, the crew can now focus on fighting the Japanese.
Despite this movie being produced in 1944, more care should have been taken in regards to historical correctness. As a reader of World War II history for over thirty years, I was frustrated to see the American people in the film asking "where is our navy" when in reality, the American fleet started striking back (albeit rather small hit and run raids) immediately after Pearl Harbor. Who can forget the heroic defense of Wake island only hours after the bombs had stopped falling over Pearl?
As for the battle of Midway aspect of the film, this was the most disappointing to me. During the actual battle, not a single American torpedo struck any ship in the Japanese fleet, but in the movie, the torpedo bombers were shown with their torpedoes striking with great regularity against the Japanese fleet. Plus, the idea of the "rogue" American carrier joining up with the rest of the American fleet in the nick of time is somewhat absurd.
I felt the acting was fairly good. Don Ameche does a good job as the cold-hearted Commander Harper, Dana Andrews is good as Commander Moulton, and William Eythe does a good job as Ensign Hallam "Oscar" Scott, a former academy award winning actor turned torpedo plane pilot.
I can only give this movie a lukewarm recommendation. If you like action and battle scenes, then the movie is ok, but for historical accuracy and correctness, then the movie is extremely poor. Don't watch this movie expecting to get an accurate account of the Battle of Midway; you won't....more info
- GOOD WAR MOVIE
This film is a classic with a believable storyline. If you like fast paced WWII movies..get this one....more info
- Carrier X Gets It Done
"Wing & A Prayer" is a very well done WWII period war movie. The story line is engrossing, the direction sure-handed, and the acting first rate. Like such jewels as "They Were Expendable", "Bataan", "Guadalcanal Diary", and others, this was a film as much about human beings and their hopes and fears
in the face of harrowing danger as it was about the "boom-boom-rat-tat-tat" of cinematic combat action ( and such emphasis on the human being rather than the bursting shrapnel was the reason why the television series "Combat" was so enormously popular in the 1960s). There is plenty of action, to be sure, though, in "Wing & A Prayer", much of it culled from actual
combat footage and the rest created by Fox's ace special effects
maestro Fred Sersen. Add up the combat footage, the FX wizardry, the direction, the cinematography, the script, and the acting performances, and you see in toto a fine piece of filmmaking.
People often carp about things that really don't matter in movies (continuity errors, etc.), and most all movies about WWII have them. Yes, you see Hellcats doubling for Wildcats at times, and sometimes Hellcats reconfiguring as Corsairs while in flight and then back to Hellcats again. And you generally see "rising sun" painted SBDs or AT-6 Texans impersonating
Japanese aircraft in films....or Sherman or Walker Bulldog tanks "pretending" to be German Tigers, Mark IV Panzers or Panthers. And sometimes M-3 or M-5 light tanks turn "Japanese"
on us. But so what? Filmmakers, at certain points in time, had to "make do" with what they had available to them at time of production (in "To Hell And Back"...movie version...Audie Murphy earns his Medal of Honor atop a TANK...NOT a tank
DESTROYER as in historical reality...again, so what?).
I, for one, just let these little quibbles scoot by and don't worry about them. In the overall context of the stories being told, they don't amount to a thing.
Give "Wing & A Prayer" a break. Its a good flick and the little "bloopers" just don't matter here.
Lastly, to the reviewer who asked the question about the USS Ticonderoga and SBD footage shot aboard that vessel....part of a movie starring Errol Flynn...no, "Wing & A Prayer" isn't it.
Flynn is nowhere to be found in "Wing". The movie you want to see is Warner Bros. 1941 vehicle "Dive Bomber", starring Flynn and Ralph Bellamy. "Dive Bomber" (about flight surgeons working to prevent dive bomber pilots from passing out from G-force
blood drainage from the brain in steep sustained dives)is the movie that a crackpot named Charles Higham cited as an example of Errol Flynn's "nazi spy activities" in a ludicrous book he wrote in the late 1970s. Long since discounted and now justly ridiculed, this author tried to claim that Flynn used his "influence" with Warner Bros. to have "Dive Bomber" filmed in, around, and over Pearl Harbor, so that views of the harbor could be sent to Japan to help prepare for the December 7th attack. This was a preposterous claim as the Japanese spy network in Honolulu had already supplied all the needed intel months before and models and mock-ups were already in use in Japan. Further preposterousness lay in the fact that no one...not even a "star"...could influence filming locations under Hollywood's old studio system. And, lastly, given the
production facts about "Dive Bomber", one has to wonder how a movie shot entirely on location in SAN DIEGO could possibly offer up any "useful intelligence" on PEARL HARBOR!!
At any rate, if one is looking for "family SBD" footage from an Errol Flynn movie, "Dive Bomber" is what you are looking for....more info
Thank you for all the reviews and commentary! Can anyone confirm that the filming of this movie took place on Ticonderoga? My father flew an SBD on that ship, and told me once that he was in the background of a movie starring Erol Flynn! He never saw the movie, but putting two and two together, this has to be the film. I have a photo of the wardroom (?) taken July 7th, 1944 and Captain Dixie Keifer's signature confirming same, and it sure looks the same....more info
- Technical Inaccuracies But Highly Entertaining
Most of the reviewers of A WING AND A PRAYER focus on the historical background that led up to the battle of Midway. It is quite true that when this film was released in 1944, much of the data that Americans now take for granted was not available or well-known. However, when critics harp on the background of the film rather than on its cinematic virtues, I think that some injustice is done. Putting aside the technical lapses--and I grant there were more than a few--the film itself did what its producers wanted. It roused the patriotism of America in a way that is still vastly entertaining today. Director Henry Hathaway got the most out of a sterling cast led by Don Ameche and Dana Andrews as Navy officers who every day had to balance the brute exegencies of war against its inevitable human cost. For a film about war, there is remarkably little war in it. Most of the action is the drama resulting from human interaction. Unlike most navy war films of the time, A WING AND A PRAYER tried to show the behind the scenes mechanics of war more than the bang-bang of anti-aircraft. It is this concentration on how to get a carrier fleet ready for the business of war that lends this movie its undeniable aura of plausibility. Pilots and crew are shown facing the stress of pre-combat with not all of them surmounting it. It is not until the end that American planes get busy shooting at the Japanese. There is a quite effective scene in which the captain, played by veteran character actor Charles Bickford, plays the radio broadcasts of combat over the ship's PA system. As the crew hears the shouts of men and the clangor of planes, the crew is mesmerized by the vicarious sounds all around them. A WING AND A PRAYER is one of the less heralded WWII films that chose to focus more on the events leading up to combat than on the combat itself. For those who have personal experience of combat, this movie rings as resonant a bell as any other movie that emphasizes the opposite....more info
- War Classic is a must for your library.
You'll find some war footage I haven't seen elsewhere! Film is one to savor the life aboard a carrier in WWII....more info
- Technicality, or where were you in 1942?
For those of you that will or want to screech about how technically incorrect this movie is, remember this movie was made and released in 1944. That means it was made and released during the Second World War. The U.S. government was loathed to confirm the fact that a sea battle even took place near Midway Island, let alone disclose what our force make-up was or what our or what it believed the enemies real battle looses were.
Additionally, in 1944 it was still unknown for certain what was results of the Torpedo Bombers attack. It wasn't until after the war that it was learned what actually happened. Although it is true that the Torpedo Bombers didn't get hits on the Japanese Carriers, the real point is that the TBF Squadrons took nearly 75% casualties in this battle, that if it wasn't for those brave men who gave their lives up at very-low altitude, the Dive Bombers coming in from 12 to 15,000 feet above the torpedo attacks may not have got the chance they needed to get through the Japanese air cover. Once again, it's also true that in 1944 none of this information was either known or if suspected, any where near releasable to the population as true.
Heck, one of our submarines reported sinking one of the 4 Japanese carriers and was actually credited with the sinking. That was until post war interrogations of the Japanese sailors that fought at Midway revealed they saw submarine torpedos hit a carrier during the air attacks and break up, without detonating.
By the way, the character portrayed by Dana Andrews was right to be worrying about Japanese radar. Because even though the Japanese didn't have radar on their ships at Midway, the United States Navy thought they might have radar and trained its Carrier Wings to expect its use. When you get right down to it, this film is as technically correct as the US Navy in 1944 could be.
I saw `A Wing and a Prayer` at least 30 times on board US Navy ships and on TV since 1946. I bought the VHS copy I'm reviewing now about two years ago. If you like classic war movies made during WWll, this is one of the best. It`s a fine film, with excellent acting....more info
- just to set the record straight (Kreutzman and San Jose)
I have been looking for this video for 46 years. When I was 6, I read about this movie that was shot using my dad's action film from landing his hellcat(not during the battle at midway) all shot to s--t from a strafing run on a train and an arial battle on the way home that took out his instruments including compass and radio. His fuselage was virtually cut in half and one wing was hanging and he ran out of fuel as he finally sighted the carrier. He clipped the tower (made the XO jump to the water)losing the back half of the fuselage and the wing and landed with only a few bruises. (During the movie,Midway, they used my dad's landing again and as he climbed out they cut and inserted the pilot being dragged out.) The reporters that photographed and filmed this for Life and Natonal geographic and other interests entitled the articles " ON A WING AND A PRAYER" and this was where the title originated.(years before the song and the B-52 bunch Mr. Kreutzman)
The other pilots came up with this name because my dad was a very devout mormon and was often working or praying while the others were partying. His name was Lt. Robert Maxwell Black, thus his nicknames Moldy Maxwell or Black Angel. His praying and one winged landing equals the "wing and a prayer". I talke to a Utah man that was on that bomber crew and he said because bob black was a utah hero, all the papers carried the wing and a prayer story. It just seemed appropriate for his story too, so they used it. (for that reason, not the song)...more info
- "A Wing and a Prayer" - An excellent W.W.II Period film!
During W.W.II the Hollywood movie studios, as a part of the war effort, created many war films that were of a genre loosely known as "propaganda films". These films generally presented the movie goer with the same three basic points of view: 1. Why we need to fight W.W.II 2. We not only need to fight, but we need to fight as a team. 3. The going is tough now, but if we persist we will win. Many people (me included) think these movies presented the best of American values. ------ "A Wing and a Prayer" is an excellent example of this type of movie. It follows the exploits of "Carrier X" and her crew through the desperate opening months of W.W.II when Japan, following the US Pearl Harbor disaster, was seeking to destroy the remnants of the US Navy by engaging them in a decisive large scale sea battle, and remove them as a Pacific threat. We learn, though the death of several U.S. aviators, the reasons why they are willing to die for their country (why we fight). The cocky young "movie star" pilot ("Oscar") who thinks mainly of himself, at the beginning of the movie, is forced, by the end of the movie, to make a decision that weighs his own life and that of his crew against the lives of the men of "Carrier X" (sacrifice and teamwork). Finally we are shown that if we persist in our just cause we can, through sacrifice and teamwork, succeed against overwhelming odds (defeat of a large Japanese task force by a smaller American force). Though "Carrier X" is never identified, it is rumored that it is loosely based on the exploits of the USS Yorktown. Although the accuracy of everything from aircraft types used, to damage inflicted by and upon the enemy, and the accuracy and order of specific events can be questioned, the one thing cannot is that, in general, this situation actually happened (The Battle of Midway). ---- Finally, when considering your purchasing dollar, this is an excellent period film that belongs in your library, it can be viewed and reviewed, and still remain fresh and entertaining. Four Stars!...more info
- title and movie don't go togeather
When I was little in about 1945 I saw a movie with B-25s flying out of England to Europe. An aircraft had lost an engine and returning home,the crew was singing this song . They looked out and saw the field like the song says. This song does not go with the JET AIRCRAFT mission. I am retired A.F....more info
- Very intertaining but not technically accurate
I enjoyed watching the movie since WW2 combat movies are my favorite. I do not like to nit pick but I was surprised to find three obvious errors in the movie: 1. The F6F Hellcat was not even designed yet durring the battle of Midway. The F4F Wildcat was the mainstay carrier fighter. 2. Dana Andrews remarks about a Jap radar fix and the Japs did not have radar. 3. At the battle of Midway the torpedo bombers did not sink any Jap carriers. The four sunk Jap carriers were sunk by dive bombers.
Anyway entertaining it was and I would recommend viewing it....more info