God Is My Co-Pilot (1945)

83 or 89 mins | Drama | 7 April 1945

Director:

Robert Florey

Producer:

Robert Buckner

Cinematographer:

Sid Hickox

Production Designer:

John Hughes

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

As depicted in the film, Colonel Robert Lee Scott, Jr. was determined to fly airplanes, even as a child. In 1921, he bought a WWI "Jenny" at public auction and took flying lessons from a former WWI pilot. Despite his bad academic record, Scott graduated from West Point in 1932, after taking remedial classes. He married his girl friend after a whirlwind courtship and in 1934 became an Army airmail pilot. After war was declared in 1941, Scott applied for combat duty, but was rejected because of his age. He continued to pursue a combat assignment, however, and eventually, after lying about his experience with the Flying Fortress, was given command of one of thirteen bombers assigned to bomb Japan. The proposed bombing was canceled because, in the meantime, the Japanese had taken all American bases in the Philippines. Scott remained in the Far East as a pilot ferrying men, refugees, and supplies along the China-Assam route. Later he convinced General Claire Chennault to give him a P-40 and became an effective combat pilot. Unlike in the film, Scott was never shot down, although his plane was often shot at and he, himself, was wounded. In Jan 1943, Scott was ordered back to the United States to train fighter pilots.
       According to a 4 May 1944 HR news item, Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart were both announced as the star of this film. A press release notes that this was at one time to be a Hal B. Wallis production. According to memos included in the records of the War Department, Wallis wanted Colonel Robert L. Scott ... More Less

As depicted in the film, Colonel Robert Lee Scott, Jr. was determined to fly airplanes, even as a child. In 1921, he bought a WWI "Jenny" at public auction and took flying lessons from a former WWI pilot. Despite his bad academic record, Scott graduated from West Point in 1932, after taking remedial classes. He married his girl friend after a whirlwind courtship and in 1934 became an Army airmail pilot. After war was declared in 1941, Scott applied for combat duty, but was rejected because of his age. He continued to pursue a combat assignment, however, and eventually, after lying about his experience with the Flying Fortress, was given command of one of thirteen bombers assigned to bomb Japan. The proposed bombing was canceled because, in the meantime, the Japanese had taken all American bases in the Philippines. Scott remained in the Far East as a pilot ferrying men, refugees, and supplies along the China-Assam route. Later he convinced General Claire Chennault to give him a P-40 and became an effective combat pilot. Unlike in the film, Scott was never shot down, although his plane was often shot at and he, himself, was wounded. In Jan 1943, Scott was ordered back to the United States to train fighter pilots.
       According to a 4 May 1944 HR news item, Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart were both announced as the star of this film. A press release notes that this was at one time to be a Hal B. Wallis production. According to memos included in the records of the War Department, Wallis wanted Colonel Robert L. Scott to play himself in the film, and if that were not possible, wanted Scott to contribute to the script, as he believed the pilot's contribution would make the screenplay more effective. The Army Air Force denied this request, as they believed it would interfere with Scott's military duties. By 1 Feb 1944, however, Scott was made available for temporary duty as a technical advisor. Other War Department records add that despite objections to an early screenplay, expressed in a 30 Sep 1943 memo from Colonel William Westlake, assistant to the Director for Army Air Forces, to Allyn Butterfield, Chief of the Feature Film Section of the War Department Bureau of Public Relations, a revised screenplay met with Air Force approval, and by Oct 1943, War Department cooperation was granted. Macon, GA, the site of the film's world premiere, was Robert Lee Scott's hometown. According to a 22 Mar 1945 letter from Brig. Gen. Ray L. Owens to Pain, Lowe & Coffin, Esqs. contained in the holdings at NARS, Lieut. Patrick D. Holland was killed during aerial maneuvers that comprised part of his military training and the flight was photographed by the film's cameramen and included in God Is My Co-Pilot . Some scenes were shot on location at Metropolitan Airport in Van Nuys, CA. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Feb 1945.
---
Daily Variety
22 Feb 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Feb 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 44
p. 47.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 44
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Feb 45
p. 3, 30
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 45
p. 16.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
2 Dec 44
p. 2203.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Mar 45
p. 2338.
New York Times
24 Mar 45
p. 22.
Variety
21 Feb 45
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Stephen Richards
Ghislaine Perreau
Frank Jacquet
Mari Jinishian
Frank Ho Wong
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Aerial photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Matte paintings
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Orch arr
SOUND
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff dir
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Research dir
Research asst
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book God Is My Co-Pilot by Colonel Robert Lee Scott, Jr., U. S. Army Air Force (New York, 1943).
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 April 1945
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Macon (GA): 15 March 1945
New York opening: 23 March 1945
Production Date:
early August--late October 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 April 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13197
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
83 or 89
Length(in feet):
7,913
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

In Kunming, China, in 1942, pilot Robert L. Scott watches Major General Claire L. Chennault with envy as he briefs a squadron of pilots for an air strike on Japan. The grounded Scott is upset that he will not be able to participate in an action for which he has prepared from the time he was a small boy living on a farm near Macon, Georgia: As a teenager, Scottie buys an old World War I airplane, then in 1932, he graduates from West Point. Later, Scottie qualifies as a pilot at Kelly Field in Texas. After his marriage to Catherine, Scottie trains to be a combat pilot, but when war is declared, is forced to become an instructor, because at thirty-four he is too old to fight. One day, Scottie is ordered to Wright Field in Florida. After additional training, Scottie and his crew fly a B-17 bomber plane under sealed orders to India, where they then wait for further orders. Eventually, the crew learns that they were to bomb Tokyo from a base in the Philippines, but because the Japanese have since occupied the islands, the mission has been canceled. Instead, the crew is assigned to ferry supplies to the Flying Tigers, mercenaries under the leadership of Chennault, who have contracted to fight on behalf of the Chinese government. After Scottie witnesses the Tigers' aggressive response to a Japanese attack, he entreats Chennault to teach him the Tigers' combat techniques. Chennault agrees to loan Scottie a battered airplane to repair and train in. Later, during a solo encounter with the Japanese, Scottie is so effective that the Japanese mistake ... +


In Kunming, China, in 1942, pilot Robert L. Scott watches Major General Claire L. Chennault with envy as he briefs a squadron of pilots for an air strike on Japan. The grounded Scott is upset that he will not be able to participate in an action for which he has prepared from the time he was a small boy living on a farm near Macon, Georgia: As a teenager, Scottie buys an old World War I airplane, then in 1932, he graduates from West Point. Later, Scottie qualifies as a pilot at Kelly Field in Texas. After his marriage to Catherine, Scottie trains to be a combat pilot, but when war is declared, is forced to become an instructor, because at thirty-four he is too old to fight. One day, Scottie is ordered to Wright Field in Florida. After additional training, Scottie and his crew fly a B-17 bomber plane under sealed orders to India, where they then wait for further orders. Eventually, the crew learns that they were to bomb Tokyo from a base in the Philippines, but because the Japanese have since occupied the islands, the mission has been canceled. Instead, the crew is assigned to ferry supplies to the Flying Tigers, mercenaries under the leadership of Chennault, who have contracted to fight on behalf of the Chinese government. After Scottie witnesses the Tigers' aggressive response to a Japanese attack, he entreats Chennault to teach him the Tigers' combat techniques. Chennault agrees to loan Scottie a battered airplane to repair and train in. Later, during a solo encounter with the Japanese, Scottie is so effective that the Japanese mistake him for an entire squadron. The killing takes its toll on Scottie, however, and he tries to resolve his feelings during talks with Catholic priest "Big Mike" Harrigan. When the Flying Tigers' contract with the Chinese elapses, Chennault is made a brigadier-general in the U.S. Army Air Force. Goaded by the Japanese, the retiring Flying Tigers decide to stay on until the new Air Force pilots are ready to take over. After the squadron carries out a bombing raid on Hong Kong, which is occupied by the Japanese, Scottie is reported dead. Scottie is alive, but when he returns to the base, he is worn out from malaria attacks and combat fatigue. Although the doctor grounds him, Scottie prays that he be allowed to fly one last mission, and just as the squadron takes off for Tokyo, Chennault sends Scottie with them. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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