Fighter Squadron (1948)

94 mins | Drama | 27 November 1948

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writer:

Seton I. Miller

Producer:

Seton I. Miller

Cinematographers:

Wilfrid M. Cline, Sid Hickox

Editor:

Christian Nyby

Production Designer:

Ted Smith

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film begins with the following written foreword: "In the dark days of 1943 and 1944, the American Air Forces, stationed in England, wrote a bright page of American history in the skies over Europe. To the men of Fighter Command, this picture is dedicated. To the United States Air Force for permitting the use of actual combat film, and for its aid and cooperation in making this picture possible, our grateful thanks." A 15 Jun 1948 HR news item reports that the production had just completed two weeks of location filming at Oscoda Air Base in Lake Huron, MI. According to a 14 Nov 1948 NYT article, in this film, Warner Bros. used previously unreleased Air Force color footage depicting aerial combat over Europe. The article adds that airplane design evolved so rapidly during the war that the Air Force "had to scour the Air National Guard" for enough P-47 Thunderbolts to meet the needs of the filmmakers. Seton I. Miller's credit reads "written and produced by." Rock Hudson made his screen acting debut in this ... More Less

The film begins with the following written foreword: "In the dark days of 1943 and 1944, the American Air Forces, stationed in England, wrote a bright page of American history in the skies over Europe. To the men of Fighter Command, this picture is dedicated. To the United States Air Force for permitting the use of actual combat film, and for its aid and cooperation in making this picture possible, our grateful thanks." A 15 Jun 1948 HR news item reports that the production had just completed two weeks of location filming at Oscoda Air Base in Lake Huron, MI. According to a 14 Nov 1948 NYT article, in this film, Warner Bros. used previously unreleased Air Force color footage depicting aerial combat over Europe. The article adds that airplane design evolved so rapidly during the war that the Air Force "had to scour the Air National Guard" for enough P-47 Thunderbolts to meet the needs of the filmmakers. Seton I. Miller's credit reads "written and produced by." Rock Hudson made his screen acting debut in this film. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Nov 1948.
---
Daily Variety
18 Nov 48
p. 3, 10
Film Daily
19 Nov 48
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 48
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 48
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 48
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 48
p. 3, 10
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 48
pp. 8-9.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Nov 48
p. 4375.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Nov 48
p. 4389.
New York Times
14 Nov 1948.
---
New York Times
20 Nov 48
p. 9.
Variety
24 Nov 48
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
William McLean
Patricia Northrup
Carl Harbough
Lillian Bond
+
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
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff dir
Spec eff
Spec eff art dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 November 1948
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 19 November 1948
Production Date:
late May--late July 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 November 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1960
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
94
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

In 1943, at a U.S. air base in England, a squadron of airplanes returns from a bombing mission over Germany. All the pilots land safely except for Major Ed Hardin. The radio operator then contacts Hardin, who is flying over the English Channel, and while the other men listen, Hardin shoots down two German planes. Later, Brig. Gen. Gilbert requests that Hardin be court-martialed for repeated violations of combat orders. Although Hardin has the highest number of hits in the entire command, he refuses to stay with the other bombers as Gilbert has ordered, often chasing planes into Germany. Gilbert intends to make an example of Hardin to prevent younger pilots from following his lead. Brig. Gen. McCready, however, turns down Gilbert's request and points out that Hardin was trained as a Flying Tiger, where such behavior is encouraged. Meanwhile, philandering Sgt. Dolan discovers a way to leave the base whenever he wants by releasing a black cat from a cache in the storeroom. Because of the pilots' superstitions, he is then ordered to drive the cat as far away as possible, and is thus able to visit any woman he pleases, although he is always careful to use an alias. When Col. Bill Brickley is moved to another unit, he recommends Hardin to take his place. Both McCready and Hardin are dubious about this decision, but in the end, Hardin is made a colonel and takes over as leader of the squadron. Hardin eliminates many of Gilbert's hated requirements, but still refuses to allow his men to be married because he believes that a married man would not be ... +


In 1943, at a U.S. air base in England, a squadron of airplanes returns from a bombing mission over Germany. All the pilots land safely except for Major Ed Hardin. The radio operator then contacts Hardin, who is flying over the English Channel, and while the other men listen, Hardin shoots down two German planes. Later, Brig. Gen. Gilbert requests that Hardin be court-martialed for repeated violations of combat orders. Although Hardin has the highest number of hits in the entire command, he refuses to stay with the other bombers as Gilbert has ordered, often chasing planes into Germany. Gilbert intends to make an example of Hardin to prevent younger pilots from following his lead. Brig. Gen. McCready, however, turns down Gilbert's request and points out that Hardin was trained as a Flying Tiger, where such behavior is encouraged. Meanwhile, philandering Sgt. Dolan discovers a way to leave the base whenever he wants by releasing a black cat from a cache in the storeroom. Because of the pilots' superstitions, he is then ordered to drive the cat as far away as possible, and is thus able to visit any woman he pleases, although he is always careful to use an alias. When Col. Bill Brickley is moved to another unit, he recommends Hardin to take his place. Both McCready and Hardin are dubious about this decision, but in the end, Hardin is made a colonel and takes over as leader of the squadron. Hardin eliminates many of Gilbert's hated requirements, but still refuses to allow his men to be married because he believes that a married man would not be willing to take the same risks in fighting as an unmarried man. This decision angers his friend, Capt. Stu Hamilton, who wants to marry his girl friend Ann, and he leaves the unit. The pilots continue to improve the effectiveness of their bombing raids under Hardin's leadership and are finally given permission to bomb German planes on the ground before they can take off. Never having formally transferred, Stu returns, although he is now married. Hardin orders him to present his written request for a transfer in the morning, but allows him to fly one last mission. Stu is killed during the raid, but before he dies, he tells Hardin over the radio that he was thinking of Ann, instead of flying, when he was hit. Later, Dolan's ruse is uncovered when his picture appears in the newspaper and is recognized by many of his lady friends. Dolan is sent to the brig, and the rest of the unit prepares for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. During the strafing, Hardin is hit and crashes. Another pilot is placed in charge, and betting that Hardin has somehow survived, the men continue fighting. +

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.