Air Cadet (1951)

90 or 93-94 mins | Drama | March 1951

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HISTORY

A written foreword reads: "This picture was photographed on the actual locations which appear upon the screen. Except for the principal players, all Air Force personnel are shown as themselves, in the actual roles and duties they perform in real life. To the officers, cadets and airmen of the United States Air Force, Air Training Command, this picture is gratefully and respectfully dedicated." Although a 3 Oct 1950 HR news item credits William Clothier as aerial photographer, the onscreen credits list Clyde De Vinna in this capacity, and the extent of Clothier's contribution to the completed film has not been determined. Included in the cast was Virgil I. Grissom, the Mercury astronaut better known as "Gus" Grissom (1926--1967).
       A Dec 1950 AC article reports that Vinna shot the scenes of the military jets, or F80 Shooting Stars, by lying on his stomach anchored to a B-25 bomber, using a camera bracketed into the tail assembly of the plane. A later AC article added that much of the flying was done at an altitude at which G-forces were in effect, making everything, including the sixty-pound camera and the photographers' own bodies, feel seven times heavier. In addition, the need for high-contrast backgrounds meant they could not shoot on days when the sky was clear or blue. Although the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA collection at the AMPAS library indicated that some songs were planned for the film, none were mentioned in reviews and there were no songs in the viewed print. Some scenes were shot on location at Randolph Field, TX; Williams Field, AZ; and Tindel Field and Panama City, ... More Less

A written foreword reads: "This picture was photographed on the actual locations which appear upon the screen. Except for the principal players, all Air Force personnel are shown as themselves, in the actual roles and duties they perform in real life. To the officers, cadets and airmen of the United States Air Force, Air Training Command, this picture is gratefully and respectfully dedicated." Although a 3 Oct 1950 HR news item credits William Clothier as aerial photographer, the onscreen credits list Clyde De Vinna in this capacity, and the extent of Clothier's contribution to the completed film has not been determined. Included in the cast was Virgil I. Grissom, the Mercury astronaut better known as "Gus" Grissom (1926--1967).
       A Dec 1950 AC article reports that Vinna shot the scenes of the military jets, or F80 Shooting Stars, by lying on his stomach anchored to a B-25 bomber, using a camera bracketed into the tail assembly of the plane. A later AC article added that much of the flying was done at an altitude at which G-forces were in effect, making everything, including the sixty-pound camera and the photographers' own bodies, feel seven times heavier. In addition, the need for high-contrast backgrounds meant they could not shoot on days when the sky was clear or blue. Although the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA collection at the AMPAS library indicated that some songs were planned for the film, none were mentioned in reviews and there were no songs in the viewed print. Some scenes were shot on location at Randolph Field, TX; Williams Field, AZ; and Tindel Field and Panama City, FL. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
1 Dec 50
p. 410.
American Cinematographer
Apr 51
p. 136, 150-151.
Box Office
24 Feb 1951.
---
Daily Variety
16 Feb 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Apr 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 50
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 50
p. 48.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Feb 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 51
p. 13.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Feb 51
p. 713.
New York Times
11 May 51
p. 32.
Variety
16 Feb 1951.
---
Variety
21 Feb 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
2d unit dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Air photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1951
Premiere Information:
World premiere in San Antonio, TX: 14 March 1951
Production Date:
4 October--mid December 1950
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
28 February 1951
Copyright Number:
LP822
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90 or 93-94
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15072
SYNOPSIS

At the Randolph Field training camp in Texas, new United States Air Force cadets Walt Phillip Carver, Russ Coulter, Jerry Connell and Sgt. Joe Czanoczek are put through their paces by tough upper classmen. The four friends pass the demanding initial tests and make it into flight training, where each works diligently for personal reasons--Walt, to prove to himself that he can be tough despite his privileged background; Russ, to honor the memory of his dead Air Force pilot brother; Jerry, wants to accomplish a challenging test; and Joe, to leave the military with a skill with which he can make a lot of money. The training and the hazing continue, but just before graduation, Jerry is informed that he has flunked out. The other three friends are assigned together at Williams Field Air Force Base, a top flight school in Arizona. There, they are impressed by the "anchor jets," a team of four planes led by flight commander Major Jack Page which fly in extremely tight formation. Jack's job is to identify and "wash out," or flunk, any pilot whom he deems unworthy. Jack informs his friend, psychologist Major Jim Evans, that Jack's wife Janet has recently left him. That night, at a dance hall in Phoenix, Russ dances with a beautiful woman who, he soon discovers, is Janet. The next day, Janet tells Jim that she still loves Jack but that he has become too cold and ruthless. Jim then explains that having to order his close friends to certain death in battle has caused Jack to bottle up his feelings and take them out on the cadets. He counsels Janet to continue seeing Jack and to ... +


At the Randolph Field training camp in Texas, new United States Air Force cadets Walt Phillip Carver, Russ Coulter, Jerry Connell and Sgt. Joe Czanoczek are put through their paces by tough upper classmen. The four friends pass the demanding initial tests and make it into flight training, where each works diligently for personal reasons--Walt, to prove to himself that he can be tough despite his privileged background; Russ, to honor the memory of his dead Air Force pilot brother; Jerry, wants to accomplish a challenging test; and Joe, to leave the military with a skill with which he can make a lot of money. The training and the hazing continue, but just before graduation, Jerry is informed that he has flunked out. The other three friends are assigned together at Williams Field Air Force Base, a top flight school in Arizona. There, they are impressed by the "anchor jets," a team of four planes led by flight commander Major Jack Page which fly in extremely tight formation. Jack's job is to identify and "wash out," or flunk, any pilot whom he deems unworthy. Jack informs his friend, psychologist Major Jim Evans, that Jack's wife Janet has recently left him. That night, at a dance hall in Phoenix, Russ dances with a beautiful woman who, he soon discovers, is Janet. The next day, Janet tells Jim that she still loves Jack but that he has become too cold and ruthless. Jim then explains that having to order his close friends to certain death in battle has caused Jack to bottle up his feelings and take them out on the cadets. He counsels Janet to continue seeing Jack and to wait for his inevitable breakdown, which will either destroy or cure him. On her way out, Janet bumps into Russ and Jack sees them talking together. Soon after, Jack grills Russ's instructor, Capt. Sullivan, on the cadet's performance, and predicts that he will wash out. Sullivan, who believes in Russ although he will not yet allow him to fly solo, questions the cadet on his recent loss of confidence and on Jack's interest in him, but Russ has no answers. Soon after, Russ flies solo while Jack watches, and although he flies perfectly, he crashes the plane while avoiding another pilot who has landed on the wrong runway. Jack unjustly blames Russ for the accident and recommends that he be washed out. That night, a drunken Russ visits Janet and tells her about his brother, William "Buzz" Coulter, who shot himself after being overworked and called a coward by his commanding officer. Janet quickly realizes that Jack was Buzz's commander and that this fact explains Jack's treatment of Russ, and informs Jim. The psychologist decides that the tension between the two could lead to a necessary breakdown for Jack, and tells the whole story to Russ. The next day Russ appears before an investigation committee and accuses Jack of killing his brother. To assuage his guilt, Jack insists that Buzz was a poor flyer, but agrees to accompany Russ on a check flight to test his skill. After the flight, Jack passes Russ, but then taps Russ, Joe and Walt as his new anchor jet team, hoping the difficult assignment will cause Russ to fail. When Jack does not flunk Russ even after the cadet performs poorly, Russ decides Jack is afraid of being accused of being responsible for Buzz's death. The next day, Jack flies with Russ and takes control of the plane, but when his oxygen hose disconnects, he passes out and Russ takes heroic measures to keep the plane from crashing. They land in the desert, where Jack hallucinates that Russ is Buzz and tells Buzz that he is wracked with guilt for calling him a coward, but that he was under extreme pressure to finish their assignment. The two are soon rescued, and Russ tells Jack that he thinks they are "okay." When the cadets graduate, Russ asks Jack, who is standing with his arm around Janet, if he will honor him by pinning on his lieutenant's wings. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.