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Rob Morris | Idaho Falls, ID United States | 07/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is basically a World War II documentary film made for Stateside audiences about life in the Mighty Eighth Air Force in England and in the deadly skies over Europe. Narrated by Clark Gable, who actually flew around five missions in B-17's before heading off to safer locales, the film follows the daily lives of the men of the 351st Bomb Group based in England and follows the men into the air. It has some excellent--if jerky-- footage of air combat. Another big plus about this film is that it is in color, which wasn't used much in the war. Though the spoken sequences come across as staged and corny, it is important to remember that the only real actor in the film is Gable. It is also a good example of World War II, rally-around-the-flag wartime propaganda, though it is honest enough to show planes full of American boys falling from the sky. For anyone interested in the air war over Europe, B-17's, or films made to support the war effort, this is a worthwhile DVD. However, be advised that the quality of the picture is less than perfect, because it is taken from a forties-era movie. The program runs 62 minutes."
History as it happened...
Michael H. Moore | World Traveler | 09/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this old documentary...Capt Clark Gable does an excellent job narrating it, the color footage is a rare treat, and it gives an excellent insight into the day-to-day lives of those from the greatest generation. It is a real tribute to all the men who flew bombers in WWII and we need to remember their service and sacrifices. They fought a tougher war and sustained much greater losses than we have in Iraq or Afghanistan, plus they were gone for much longer periods and didn't have the technology such as email or video teleconferencing to keep in touch with their loved ones. We need to remember them, as we are losing them quickly and soon they may all be gone. But their legacy remains, and it is films like this one that preserves it!"
givbatam3 | REHOVOT Israel | 06/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film was made and narrated by Clark Gable and that, in and of itself makes it special. Gable was possibly the most famous screen actor of his time and at his age he could have stayed out of the army, or joined up and gone around making war bonds speeches in the US. However, he wanted to go where the action was and became an officer in the Army Air Force. He was given the job of making a film to help recruiting for gunners in the B-17 strategic bombers. He himself had to take an air gunnery course, because if he flew on missions, even if it was as a passenger whose job was to film the other crewmen, it might be necessary for him to replace a wounded gunner. It turned out that in the time that it took to make the film, enough volunteers had joined up so the film wasn't needed for that purpose, but it still ranks as a testimony to the men who flew these dangerous missions, including Gable himself who flew several. Some people consider the film "propaganda", but that is unfair. It is true that he asks a wounded man "how good is the B-17 and the equipment they give you?" and it would be surprising if he answered "the plane is too cold and uncomfortable, the guns jam too frequently, the food is lousy, we don't enough leave, etc, etc" (instead he replied that "everything is the best"), but the film does not shy away from showing the dangers of the job.... evacuation of the wounded men from the aircraft, the hospitals and , most heartbreakingly, several B-17's going down while the pilot of Gable's plane asking his crewmen "anybody see any parachutes?" from the stricken aircraft. A pleasant surprise in the film is the visit of Bob Hope's entertaiment troupe to the base Gable was working at. Bob says "I know Rhett Butler is out there in the audience", but Gable managed to remain concealed among his fellow airmen. I am in awe of the men who flew these very dangerous missions day after day, and it is inspiring to see men like Gable, and others like Jimmy Stewart who, being famous, could have avoided combat, yet who felt they owed it to their country to put themselves where the danger was the greatest."
Josephus | Knoxville, TN United States | 07/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I came across this film (unknown to me) as a bonus movie from a DVD called "WWII in Color." I knew that Gable had flown 5 missions - but I didn't know he made combat films. The combat footage of this film is very good. Don't miss this if your into original footage. Here is some info on Gabel's war time experience: In 1942, following Lombard's death, Gable joined the U.S. Army Air Forces. As Captain Clark Gable, he trained with and accompanied the 351st Heavy Bomb Group as head of a 6-man motion picture unit making a gunnery training film. While at RAF Polebrook, England, Gable flew five combat missions, including one to Germany, as an observer-gunner in B-17 Flying Fortresses between May 4 and September 23, 1943, earning the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts. Adolf Hitler esteemed Gable above all other actors, and during the Second World War, offered a sizable reward to anyone who could capture and bring Gable unscathed to him. He left the Army Air Forces with the rank of major. "
Review Combat America
Louis J. Barbier | Largo, Florida | 10/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a factual account of the Eight Air Force and the brave air crews that flew the mighty B-17 - flying fortress over Nazi Germany. Much of the film is actual footage of air combat over the skies of Europe. Clark Cable guides the viewer through what it was like to be an air crew on a bombing mission to knock out targets that supplied the enemy's ability to make war against the free world. It is very well done and I strongly recommend it to the history buff of WWII or anybody who wonders what the extent of the sacrifices our young men and women made in flying these missions."