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  • The Movie was shot on the back lot of 20th Century Fox. The studio used sailors from NAS Longbeach Ca. as extras for about 2 weeks . In the Scene when a Bomb hits the Ship i am the first man on the fire hose . They had built part of a Carrier Deck over a lake and used SBD'S on this deck for close ups but then used film footage from actual battle scene's in between . This explains difference of planes and ships.
  • Three months after the greatest disaster in the american history with the surprise military strike of Pear Harbor by the imperial Japanese navy air service, December the 7th, 1941, the American HQ set up a desperate strategy based on a simulation of disarray within the American navy so that the Japanese confidence goes up artificially and incites them not to deviate from their supposed plan of campaign: to take ownership of Pearl Harbor, this objective implying beforehand a passage through Midway where the American navy is firmly waiting for the Japanese navy.

    The film focuses on an aircraft carrier unexpectedly playing the role of a bait and we witness the daily life of these airmen forced to behave cowardly every time they meet a Japanese zero. The atmosphere is typical of old war movies: ultra-patriotic, childish and cheesy, pretty close to a propaganda film, in a certain manner. We globally remember the team spirit, the heroism of the airmen, the dignity of the entire crew and the excellent cinematography given the technical means of the time.
  • The best characteristic of this film is the fine quality of the film in terms of cinematic depth-of-field and clarity. There is excellent camera work, especially in the complicated action scenes. Each scene is balanced and seemingly well-edited. The theme of the movie is somewhat weak relative to the fight/no fight stance of the U.S. Navy, and it is overpowered by the many action scenes which resemble a "Victory at Sea" format. The facts of the battle at Midway Island as presented in this movie are somewhat questionable. The superior forces of the Japanese Imperial Navy could best any navy in early June of 1942. That good fortune played a role in the American fleet's victory is not in question, that poor planning and accident forced the Japanese Imperial Navy's tactics is also accepted. Beyond these general facts it is difficult to accept the overstatement that the position of the U.S. Navy was that "This is the battle we've been praying for." There is also some question in the film as to the accuracy of the reports concerning the U.S. torpedo planes' success. In essence, the Battle of Midway was decisive, and very lucky for the Americans. To present the battle and victory as well planned and well coordinated is misleading. A word on acting: Don Ameche as Commander Bingo Harper is outstanding. His performance is solid in terms of the classic dramatic hero. As commander, he never wavers from his responsibility, he does what must be done, and he understands both how much victory means and what price must be paid.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a pretty rudimentary war flick, the story of Torpedo Squadron 5 aboard a US carrier after Pearl Harbor and during the battle of Midway. Nobody is more than one dimensional and everybody is predictable. The acting isn't bad, though, and the scenes of TBFs or TBMs landing and taking off are exciting to watch. These were big airplanes with 3-man crews and pretty cozy inside. George Bush flew one during the war and chose to do so because it gave him a chance to work aloft with a team instead of alone.

    Most of the combat footage is familiar from other movies but some is not. The real footage is pretty much a sloppy lash up as was usual at the time. Curtiss Helldivers are repeatedly shown although they weren't deployed at the time, nor were they an improvement over the dive bombers they replaced. Ditto for the Gruman Hellcats. There are some shots of F4F Wildcats, which DID participate at Midway, but they're used as stand-ins for Japanese Zeroes!

    As for the accuracy of the story itself, there were carrier strikes against Japanese bases after Pearl Harbor and before Midway, although they were more a matter of showing the flag than doing substantial damage. And at Midway, alas, American torpedo planes not only failed to damage the Japanese forces but were savaged by Japanese fighters and by AA. The dive bombers saved the day for us, aided by submarines, and all four Japanese carriers went down, along with all their airplanes and many of their most experienced pilots, while we lost the hastily repaired Yorktown.

    The chief reason for our success was our having broken the Japanese code, so we knew they were coming. The Japanese also canceled the attack on Midway even though there was a decent chance they could have succeeded without their carriers. They were to do something similar at Leyte Gulf two years later. If Halsey, who was given to issuing orders like "Attack -- repeat -- attack," had been in charge at Midway instead of the more cautious Spruance things might have turned out differently.

    But these sorts of twists, errors, and lack of subtleties were common in war movies at the time. It's a decent, watchable movie. It gives you a rather good feeling for what it was like to be a crew member of a TBF, where they were positioned with respect to one another -- that sort of thing. Its spirit is true to the times, so to speak.
  • Movie gives authentic view of TBM carrier torpedo bombers of mid-WWII. The tensions before the battle as well as the battle and aftermath are well covered.

    Acting is down-to-earth and realistic in terms of Combat Aircrew and Deck crews. More of a 'documentary' and memory bank for those who flew...and those who died! The USA won the battle AND the War. The TBM survived and saw service in the Korean War.

    A REAL FLAG WAVER!!!
  • lohman4828 May 2006
    The movie itself is entertaining and rather predictable at times. Kind of like the movie mill war stories of that era. The roll played by Don Ameche was not a Don Ameche roll. Ameche is better known for his humor, IE: The Bickersons and Cocoon. The roll of a sad, by the book Navy officer must have been a stretch for him, but he did it in perfection. He became a dark shadow in scenes where he just walks through and always alone. The lonely man, hardly cracking a smile. Everyone hating him, tough to the point, lonely, misunderstood and doing the job he was appointed to do. It makes you wonder how many men had to be this way during any war.

    Ameche should have won an Acadamy Award for his role in this movie.
  • Movie gives authentic view of TBM's, carrier torpedo bombers of mid-WWII. The tensions before the battle as well as the battle and aftermath are well covered. Acting is down-to-earth and realistic in terms of Combat Aircrew and Deck crews. More of a 'documentry' and memory bank for those who flew...and those who died! The USA won the battle AND the War. The TBM survived and saw service in the Korean War. A REAL FLAG WAVER!!!
  • If you want to see the actual story of the battle of Midway than definitely see the film that came out in the Seventies. If you can fast forward through the fictional plot involving Charlton Heston and his family problems you will see a very good documentary about the battle and how close run it was.

    Wing and a Prayer came out two years after and there were restrictions placed on the details, probably due to the fact that one of the reasons we won it was because we had broken the Japanese naval code. Still some of the restrictions were a bit ridiculous.

    Whose idea was it to cast Sir Cedric Hardwicke as an American Admiral, presumably the Chief of Naval Operations who gave us an overview of the film we were about to see in a prologue. The Chief of Naval Operations at that time was one Ernest J. King who was a rather profane man given to using universally understood words in his normal conversations. He must have had one good laugh at the very prim and proper Cedric Hardwicke playing him, in on a pass from the Royal Navy.

    The aircraft carrier where the story takes place is unnamed, but I think we can assume it's the Enterprise. In charge is Admiral Charles Bickford playing most probably Raymond Spruance who had tactical command of the task force at Midway.

    The plot of Wing and a Prayer centers around a conflict between Dana Andrews head of a torpedo squadron assigned to the carrier and Don Ameche, a stern by the book Naval commander in charge of the airplanes and their crews. Ameche and Andrews have conflicts similar to what Ameche had with Tyrone Power in films like In Old Chicago. If Power hadn't been in the Marines at the time serving in the real war in the Pacific, I'm sure he would have had Andrews's part.

    The usual wartime clichés and characters abound in Wing and a Prayer. One unusual part is that played by William Eythe, a Hollywood actor enlisted in the service and who's one of Andrews's pilots. This might have been Darryl F. Zanuck's idea of a tribute to his main star who as I said was actually serving.

    Wing and a Prayer is not a bad film, but with Midway out there it's just not the best film on the subject.
  • "Wing and a Prayer" really gives those of us not born yet a realistic idea of what life on a carrier was like going up against Japan in World War II. The tough decisions brought on by war were very poignant as were the losses of friends and shipmates in combat. The film was a bit murky at the end as to how the carrier (name?!) fit in with the Battle of Midway and the Japanese ship models were pretty cut-rate, even by 1940's standards. Using U.S. Navy Wildcat planes with white circles painted over their US star to represent Japanese planes was campy, but understandable since the US was in the process of really shooting all of the real zero's out of the sky during the time of the movie. Harry "MASH" Morgan was a 29 year old pilot hotshot that was nice to see him in his prime. Don Ameche did a very good job being a serious-as-death commander who had to be a hard *ss in order to send men into mortal combat. A great film!
  • I'm intrigued by war movies, especially war movies within a country at war. This also happens to be my country, and in fact -- though I will never know the details -- my dad was in this action. This has the required swelling of patriotic fervor at the end, and does so with a minimum of racist demonization.

    Its about the one really risky time in the war. There was never any doubt that the Germans (and Italians) would lose in Europe once the US entered the war; the only question was the cost. But in the Pacific, the situation was truly dire between Pearl Harbor and this battle. After this battle, it was a war of factories.

    But before, it was touch and go. Everyone in the States would have known the pivotal role of the event and would have their stories about tactics and bravery.

    There are three notable things about this movie.

    The first is that it is nearly all wrong in terms of the history. The reason for this is that the US had broken the code (JN-25). This was not something that could be announced; the US knew the details of the Japanese plans and were able to stage an ambush. But that hardly explains the other, gratuitous historical inaccuracies. One can only think that no one cared what the actual tactics were as long as communal dedication was apparent.

    A second rather shocking thing is that all the combat footage is genuine. These are real warriors in the real place, with less than half of the movie (obviously overlain) produced as a fiction. Looking at these men and operations deepens the experience, knowing how rare it is to see this before Vietnam.

    But the most interesting to me is one character. He's pretty much the central character of the fiction: a torpedo plane pilot. Now picture this; you have a real story of national import around which history does swing. You have actual footage which in other, later, contexts with narration stands strong. You have all this and you want to insert Hollywood; what do you do?

    Well, you insert a character who is a Hollywood actor, someone who has left Hollywood and enlisted but who still carries his Oscar on combat missions! Its yet another example of this phenomenon I call the narrative fold. Pretty cool.

    Oh, the fictional parts are bad in nearly all respects, excepting one scene. An airman has been killed and his buddy is packing his effects for transport back to his girl. Going through things to place in a suitcase, he finds an empty tube of toothpaste and tosses it in the trash. Then he reconsiders -- a very poignant moment -- and pulls it out of the trash to send to the woman. Its one thing that works. All the rest would wait to be decoded.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The movie is very interesting, and according to my own researches and familiarities ( since I am presently in my eighth decade ), one of the pleasures for me was NOT to see the time-worn scene of the bullet-riddled F4F "crashing" onto the deck and sliding into the command tower, as is shown in 9 out of 8 movies about WWII Navy pictures. Don Ameche does, if fact, do a very "military" version of the man-in-charge. Me Dear-departed mither into her ninth decade felt that Dana Andrews was the true Hollywoodie-Hero of all times. But what intrigues me MOST about the movie, since we have cruised through the islands of the tropical Pacific ( Figi, Samoa, American Samoa ), is that the film makers felt it necessary for the pilots, when retiring at night aboard ship, to wear PAJAMAS, and sleep under SHEETS and BLANKETS. WE did no such thing !!!
  • Wing and a Prayer (1944)

    This is a Navy film made in 1944, set in early 1942. That says a lot to start--it's realistic, but it's also meant for support the troops, support the families back home, and avoid giving the enemy any information that might hurt the U.S. This one is set in the Pacific on an aircraft carrier, so there are both conventional sailors as well as pilots. Much of the movie is about ordinary down time, which builds up the interpersonal stuff, and gives the range of types on the ship--up to a limit (no minorities, for example).

    There were a lot of movies made during the war about the war, and most employed a star or two to give them an audience. Here we have Dana Andrews, already a stalwart at this early point in his career, and Don Ameche, who was the bigger name at the time. But what makes the movies distinctive beyond this is always some twist, some specific aspect of the war that gets highlighted. The main one here is the ship is on a special mission to head toward the fringes of Japanese controlled water and give the impression that the U.S. Navy is scared and incompetent.

    This makes for a lot of tension after awhile because the men really want to fight, and they are told to turn away. It's an interesting angle (with not a lot of historical truth to it, apparently). But it shows in part how the Navy had highly sophisticated plans that the average Joe couldn't and didn't know about. And so everyone should just be confident, everyone including all the folks watching it on Main Street, far from being able to help or knowing the truth.

    The other unique twist is that one of the pilots is an Academy Award Winning actor. It's clear from the first action scene that he's not really competent, but he's cute and popular, gets lots of mail, and he carries his Oscar statuette with him everyone (including on missions). A fun Hollywood twist...and of course, it isn't left alone. All of this, the ruse, the actor, the whole waiting game, is a set up for a spectacular finish.

    Trivia notes: There is a 16mm movie shown to the troops during fun time, and it's called "Tin Pan Alley," a 1940 Betty Grable flick with lots of flesh. It's naturally a hit with the men. And it's streamable on Netflix. Naturally I had to watch it...so look for my review of that one, too. Not half bad, but…. one of the moments that is a surprise (and a deflection) is when a plane takes off and crashes, and during some of the shots of the rescue there are mistakenly other ships in the distance.

    That last 20 minutes is great war film stuff, including a unique section where the action is told only through sound. It's a small but brilliant addition to a strong, somewhat straight forward film.
  • "Wing and a Prayer" is a decent WW II film made in 1944. It stars Don Ameche, Dana Andrews, William Eythe, Cedric Hardwicke, Charles Bickford, Harry Morgan, and Richard Jaeckel (so young it's unbelievable). It's directed by Henry Hathaway.

    The story concerns Naval decisions made during World War II before the Battle of Midway. It's not complete -- because of the time that it was made, info was still classified. We had broken the Japanese code and knew what was going to happen at Midway. This particular film is about a carrier, probably in real life, The Enterprise, that was supposed to make the Japanese think the Navy was spread all over the place so that they wouldn't anticipate the forces at Midway. When they were seeing carriers in different spots, they were in fact seeing only this carrier. The crew was told not under any circumstances to engage with the Japanese, which caused fatalities and problems when pilots could not defend themselves.

    The crew was in the dark, of course, and had no understanding of this policy, so they were angry and frustrated.

    Don Ameche plays a very stern flight commander, Bingo Harper, a man without a sense of humor, who seems detached from his men. Andrews plays lieutenant commander Edward Moulton, and William Eythe plays Hallam "Oscar" Scott, a film star who carries his Academy Award with him for luck.

    This is a 20th Century Fox film, and Andrews and Eythe were two actors who came up during World War II and were groomed by Fox to take over for its absent actors. Eythe bore a resemblance to Tyrone Power and was being groomed for stardom. The role he plays here is undoubtedly based on Power, who was indeed a movie star-pilot with an unusual first name. And he had kissed Betty Grable, just like Hallam. Unlike Dana Andrews, Eythe probably would never have made first ranks - he is rough around the edges, awkward physically, and he just didn't have star quality. He was given some excellent roles, but after Zanuck found out he was gay and pretty openly the lover of actor Lon McAllister, he got rid of him. Eythe found work in television and on the stage but died at the age of 38 of hepatitis.

    All in all, a pretty good movie, though the characters aren't very well developed, particularly Andrews' role. The minor characters have more back story.
  • I enjoyed this film, as although it only was tangentially a film about the Battle of Midway (probably the most important naval battle of WWII), it was a billion times better than the 1970s film "Midway". Midway was a very sloppy film--with tons of badly inserted file footage. Often, the footage was too grainy or featured planes that literally changed into different planes in mid-air! Here in "Wing and a Prayer", although some stock footage is used, it's used far less extensively and more seamlessly.

    The film is about a lone US aircraft carrier who is given a lousy mission--to try to AVOID contact with the enemy and run whenever they are detected. The goal is to lull the Japanese into thinking the Americans are not prepared for war and are more vulnerable than they really were. But instead of just focusing on this 'big picture' approach, the movie specifically focuses on one small unit on board the ship. The impact of these unorthodox maneuvers on the men and their stories are the goal of this film.

    The film is very entertaining. Much of this is because although the subject might seem a bit dry today, there are lots of nice vignettes and excellent acting. The main stars, Dana Andrews and Don Ameche, are good as always--this is certainly no surprise as both were great professionals. But it also helped that they had some excellent performances from supporting actors--most of which might not even be recognized today (aside from a young Harry Morgan). But to fans of old time cinema, the faces of Richard Jaeckel, Charles Bickford and others are a welcome sight--and provide nice and realistic color to the film. The only real sour note here was the ensign who flew with an Oscar (the award, not the Japanese plane)--this seemed ridiculous and out of place. A few of the real standout scenes were the plane that was stuck and couldn't pull out of a bombing run as well as the great scenes of the men on the ship listening to the airplane chatter as the battle raged on--their faces really said it all.

    Overall, a nice depiction of the events leading up to Midway as well as of the battle itself. While the footage used wasn't perfect (see below), it was used well and the movie provided good entertainment and an explanation of what was happening to the folks back home during the war. Good and a must for aviation buffs.

    FYI--For true aviation/navy nuts (like myself) only: Note that in some scenes the SB2C Helldiver dive bomber was featured. This plane did not begin service until later 1943--a year and a half after the events featured in the film occurred. You can't entirely blame Hollywood--they probably made good with what they had available to them at the time, as the Dauntless dive bombers were being phased out when the film was made. Also, while Avenger torpedo planes did fight at Midway, only six were available--as the plane was brand-new to the war in June 1942 Yet, in the film, there are lots of Avengers and none of the more widely used Devastators. Again, this info is only for maniacs like me who care about such details.

    Also, ironically, footage for the film was shot on the USS Yorktown II-- ship that replaced the Yorktown. The old Yorktown had been lost at the Battle of Midway. Plus, the film almost makes it look as if the carrier in the film (never referred to by name) was the only US carrier in the battle, though the Hornet, Yorktwown and Enterprise all participated. You see other ships in the film, but no real mention is made of them.
  • nick_elliston29 March 2006
    Picked this up as a cheap DVD recently.

    Part (small) documentary, part film, part propaganda. Various readers have commented on the accuracy of the aircraft etc, but as WW2 was still going on when this was filmed I guess they made use of what was available.

    Follows a familiar theme of other WW2 films made whilst the war was in progress - Wake Island, Air Force etc in that historical accuracy is sometimes lacking, but as a flag-waver at the time it probably had the desired effect.

    Although born some time after WW2 ended, as a story of life aboard a carrier it looked quite realistic to me. It was only the battle scenes where it seemed to lose its way, but this was nothing to do with the quality of special effects. Probably a bit too jingoistic.

    Some good performances, particularly Don Ameche. It stands the test of time well, and a film that should not be forgotten and that I will certainly watch several times more.
  • "The True Story of Carrier X". Not. A decent flick, but given that it was made in 1944, there are still some propaganda/intelligence considerations.

    It's interesting that we pick apart current movies (like Spiderman), yet leave these old films alone - when there are much more egregious errors to it. Pilots in TBFs taking off, when the planes that are launched are SBDs. Place #31 takes off, but it's plane #27 which crashes. The winning planes of Midway are torpedo planes instead of dive bombers.

    Despite these sort of issues, it does appear to capture the spirit of the carrier air groups of the war. Well worth seeing.

    My interest was to determine which carrier in fact was used for the film. Definitely an Essex class - the first of which was launched in '42. So it wasn't really at Midway. Looks like the USS Hornet CV-12 - which would be cute, the orignal USS Hornet (CV-8) was at Midway. But the hull number is not visible in the film.
  • I only have one real kibbutz, and only a Naval aviator of the time would be able to answer it in detail but the character played by William Eythe, the screw-up who is a popular Hollywood actor with an academy award and the same piloting talent as a cast-iron bathtub is ridiculously overdrawn. Anyone that incompetent and outside the rules would never have been graduated from flying school. Given, it's a movie, but the portrayal of that character grates on me and it takes up half the running time. Otherwise, all the actors play the roles they're given well, particularly among the senior officers. Most of the junior officers and enlisted characters are rather broadly drawn but it works. Overall, it's a far superior film to Flattop even while it's not perfect.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Combining actual battle footage with dramatic recreations, "Wing and a Prayer" starts months after Pearl Harbor with the question, "Where is the Navy, and why aren't they doing anything?" The answer is very simple---they weren't ready, and the Naval commander (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) admits this, along with the fact that Pearl Harbor took a bigger beating than the United States wanted to admit. It takes months for the ship commanded by Charles Bickford (and his assistants, Don Ameche and Dana Andrews) to see combat. They had brief contacts with the Japanese which caused a few casualties, as well as having several accidents that proved this ship was not ready to confront the enemy. When the big battle does occur, it is obvious that this ship needed extra time for training to confront Japan head on.

    Seriously looking at what was going on in the Pacific, the film is more than just gripping propaganda with an all-star cast. It is the view of what happens when men gather to fight. They don't just go out there with guns loaded or bombs ready. It takes a lot of strategy and an intelligent battle plan to fight for a common cause against evil. In addition to the three stars I already mentioned, such familiar faces as William Eythe and Henry (Harry) Morgan are featured. An amusing small part of the storyline involves a fictional character who carries an Oscar on the plane with him that is later revealed to be one of Betty Grable's partners in a magazine photo kiss. Grable, along with Alice Faye, appears in a brief clip from "Tin Pan Alley", used over a split scene between the sailors watching the film and the commanders discovering they are in enemy territory. The scene of the film breaking, being fixed, and then all of a sudden being called for duty is unforgettable in this message of priorities. There are plenty of moving scenes, yet not one speech of "why we fight" or "why we must win". The honesty of human error is explored and adds to the reality of the situation, making this one of the most prominent of all war movies made during that time.
  • It's early 1942 and the US Pacific Fleet is on the ropes with most of it's warships sunk and destroyed at Pearl Harbor after the devastating Japanese sneak attack on December 7, 1941. Now with the Japanese moving westward towards the Hawaiian islands and possibly California Washington and Oregon the US Navy under the command of British Admerial, how the hell did he get into the movie?, Cedric Hardwicke plans a strategy to lure the Japanese Pacific Fleet into a trap set for it at Midway Island.

    With one lone US aircraft carrier zig-zagging all throughout the South Pacific Admerial Hardwrick plans to confuse the Japs into thinking that the US Navy is on the run thus letting its guard down and head for Midway Island thinking that taking the island would would be nothing but a a cake walk. With the overconfident Japs not knowing that the entire US Pacific Fleet is waiting for it and ready to spring a bear, or shark, trap on it! The only problem is that the men of the carrier task force, especially the navy pilots, are to be kept in the dark about the operation making them feel,in avoiding contact with the enemy at all costs, like a bunch of gutless cowards!

    The flight commander of the carrier task force Cmdr. Bingo Harper,Don Ameche, knows what's going on in his orders to avoid contact with Japanese Navy but has a lot of trouble trying to get his pilots to follow his orders. The Navy fly-boys are itching for a chance to mix it with the Japs but are now almost on the brink of mutiny in them being kept at arms lengths even if their attacked by Jap Zero fighter in being ordered by Harper to turn tail and run.

    It takes a whole lot of patience and following orders by the head of the carrier flight crew Lt. Cmdr. Edward Moulton, Dana Andrews, to keep both his cool and sanity in having a number of his airmen shot down and killed by the Japanese Air Force without as much as fairing back at them! We also have in the movie Academy Award winning actor and now carrier fighter pilot Hallam "Oscar" Scott, William Eythe, ready to rough it with the Japs more then, what a jerk, being safely back in Hollywood making films with him kissing GI pin-up girls like actresses Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth! This is obviously to show the audience that even Hollywood, the land of make believe, is pulling its weight in the war by having top male stars like Clark Gable & Tyrone Power on he front lines risking their lives fighting Fascism!

    Finally after sailing around in circles for almost the entire film the carrier task force gave its pilots the order to go into action as the Japanese fleet was within sight of Midway island as the trap was strung on it! Lot of great action, mixed in with a number high emotional, scenes as the US Navy took it to the Japs and put an end to their dreams of conquering the entire Pacific; Up until or even past the US West Coast!

    As it turned out it was British Admiral, again how the hell did he ever get into the movie?, Hardwicke's brilliant plan to give the Japanese the false feeling on invincibility that lead to their disastrous defeat, losing almost all their combat aircraft carriers, at Midway which turned out to be the turning point in their grand and expansionist plans in the Pacific.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Wing and a Prayer" is one of the Hollywood films made about WW II during the war. It was unusual in that it was the first time the U.S. Navy allowed a civilian film crew to shoot aboard a vessel during wartime. Most of the good action stuff we see in war movies was shot by military cameramen and crews. The shipboard filming for the movie was done during the shakedown cruise of the new USS Yorktown carrier out of San Diego. It had been launched Jan. 21, 1943, at Newport News, VA, and was commissioned in April of that year. This was after the former Yorktown had been sunk on June 7, 1942, in the Battle of Midway.

    The best thing about this film to me is that it shows some of the work that the carrier crews had to do – not just the more thrilling jobs of the Navy pilots. And, it shows some of the insides and routine of the pilots as they prepare for missions. I enjoy this because I served in the Army during the Cold War years leading up to Vietnam, and I appreciate seeing and learning what service in the other branches was like. The studio mixed some real action film into the picture. This was stuff shot during the Battle of Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway. However, it's not nearly as impressive as the use of actual combat footage in later films about the war.

    The plot moves along rather slowly, and it follows an unnamed carrier, "Carrier X," on a fictitious mission in the South Pacific to fool the Japanese into thinking the U.S. fleet was scattered around the Pacific. That was so that Japan would be tricked into attacking Midway on the way to its final conquest of Hawaii. In reality, the U.S. had broken the Japanese code and knew that Japan planned attack at Midway and then go on to Hawaii.

    The acting in this film is so-so, with no standouts. I agree with another reviewer who found it a strange casting decision to have British actor Cedric Hardwicke play the unnamed admiral in this film. The character most likely was supposed to be the Chief of Naval Operations at the time whose manner and language was anything but like the proper, well-mannered English of Sir Hardwicke. Otherwise, the film is OK.

    The Yorktown was not one of the three American carriers in the Pacific when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It had been in the Pacific after it was commission in 1937, but was moved to the Atlantic through the Panama Canal at the outbreak of WWII in Europe. She was in Norfolk, VA when Pearl Harbor was bombed, but she then sailed for San Diego and arrived there Dec. 30, 1941.

    The Battle of Coral Sea took place May 4-8, 1942, and the Battle of Midway was June 3-7, 1942. The new Yorktown (CV-10) joined the Pacific Fleet by mid-1943 for the duration of the war. It was decommission in 1975 and is now a museum ship and national historic landmark at Patriot's Point in South Carolina. On May 19, 1998, marine explorer Dr. Robert Ballard led a National Geographic research team that discovered the wreck of the Yorktown. It was more than three miles down on the ocean floor.

    "Wing and a Prayer" was released in America after its July 28, 1944, premier in Providence RI. The 1970 movie, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" is a much more accurate, detailed and historic account of the Battle of Midway. It is done with excellent portrayals of the Japanese as well as American forces and units.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Yet another Boy's Own Paper take on the war in the Pacific. Although there are several candidates - Don Ameche, William Eythe, Dana Andrews, Charles Bickford - for leading man the footage is fairly equally divided between all of them with the exception of Cedric Harwicke who gets equal billing with the others for what amounts to no more than two minutes screen time in a Prologue. Having clearly drawn the short straw Don Ameche gets to play the heavy - in this case the Naval Commander/martinet who in playing it by the book comes into conflict (natch) with Dana Andrews. Andrews would be on the losing end again about six years later when he crossed swords with Richard Widmark in The Frogmen. The acting is more or less up to snuff and we get early glimpses of B.S. Pulley and Richard Jaeckel, apart from that it's run-of-the-mill.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A great cast can't help this film and basically here is why:

    The goal of the navy was to fool the Japanese by thinking that we weren't strong enough to fight back and therefore we would run away from any fight. This is supposed to end when we get enough strength to fight full force at Midway.

    As a result, this becomes too much of a talky film with everyone basically complaining-where is the navy? How much can you really concentrate on basically doing nothing?

    Perhaps, if there had been an element of women in the film at the war front, the film might have been better.

    The always gruff Charles Bickford has little to work with here. Instead, some of his lines go to Don Ameche, but even he can be tolerated up until a certain point. Dana Andrews is missing real grit here. William Eythe, who was so good in 1947's "The House on 92nd Street," also has little to work with.

    This is a major disappointment.
  • There was a Battle of Midway. Japanese carriers Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu were sunk. Japanese cruisers Mikuma and Mogami were involved in the battle. Plenty of actual carrier ops footage was used in making this film.

    Other than that, NONE of what happens in this movie is true.

    I gave this garbage a 3 (instead of a zero) solely for the operations footage.