RT | Tallahassee, FL | 08/21/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As noted by others, the wonderful aerial scenes, including a sequence with actual flying footage of the Bell X-1, plus all the shots of Korean War-vintage aircraft, make this movie more than worthwhile for aviation buffs (especially knowing that Chuck Yeager participated in the flying). Most of this is original footage shot for 'Jet Pilot' -- with the cooperation of the USAF; no grainy stock shots, minimal fake process shots. If one can overcome the ludicrous story and dramatics, its jaw-dropping badness can become entertaining (consider the 'atomic-powered' fighter jets which can fly all over the northern hemisphere without refueling!).
Of interest to military buffs in this 1950 movie (having a delayed 1957 theatrical release) is the mix of brown and blue uniforms for Air Force personnel, the brown uniforms being a hold-over from AAF days. As an independent service the Air Force probably was less than three years old when 'Jet Pilot' was filmed.
For cinema/home theatre buffs, note that because 'Jet Pilot' was made in 1950, it was NOT filmed NOR framed for widescreen, so for its 1957 release it would have been illegitimately cropped at the top and bottom to achieve a widescreen effect during theatrical projection. The DVD letterbox bands simulate this effect, but the authentic video framing should be 1.33:1, which corresponds to the full 1.37:1 Academy frame used in production.
Paul Frees has an amazingly energetic bit part.
Five stars for aerial sequences, four stars for historical interest, zero stars for cinema/dramatics, three stars for entertainment value."
The Duke in a fluke!
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 10/16/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is at times both a wonderful film, and then equally as bad as it is good. John Wayne plays his part to perfection, but this is still a fluke for the Duke (albeit an entertaining one).First off, the direction is wonderful, as is the footage of old jets, the color, the cinematography, stunt piloting by none other than Chuck Yeager, and of course, John Wayne in his prime.But there are also glaring errors and bizzare oversights that, if the film were one of the jets it depicts, would be given a direct hit with anti-aircraft fire. It all starts when a Russian MIG jets in over an American airbase, and is forced down. The pilot turns out to be a woman (GASP!), defecting to the US. The Duke has to debrief her, so to speak. As she takes off her flight suit jets whoosh by to let us know that the Duke and all of the other airmen on the base are...well... for lack of a better term, ready for take-off.The Pentagon thinks she's a spy, sent to swipe secret info. John Wayne is assigned to escort the pilot around the base and try to get the truth out of her.The lady Commie is given free run of the airbase, to go where she wants and see what she wants. She even is allowed to pilot American fighters! This is where the laughabillity comes in. Have you any idea just how much an enemy pilot can tell about a nation's strengths and weaknesses in air defense just by getting a quick LOOK at one of their jet aircraft! And here this suspected spy gets to sashay her way into FLYING one! SEVERAL times! Talk about a lapse in security! Even in Hollywood, it would lead to a firing squad for the brass that okayed it.I might have been able to buy into it (or at least overlook it), if Janet Leigh could have managed a Russian accent. In fact NONE of the Russians in the movie sound Russian. Not even Hollywood-Russian. The one general who tries comes off sounding like he speaks Italian! It's no small wonder the film was put in a vault for seven years before being released. I suspect that a Russian-sounding voiceover for Leigh was planned, but became a forgotten detail over the years.Still, the Duke looks great. The film could have been far worse (nowheres NEAR as bad as "The Conquerer", with the Duke as Ghengis Khan), and it is worth a looksee for the ariel photography and the old jets if nothing else. A word to the wise, however. This is not a serious film at all. It seems to be rather tongue-in-cheek, and that may be the best way to take it."
Good movie, not-so-good DVD
James Sky-Eagle Smith | Texas | 06/25/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jet Pilot is a good John Wayne film, co-starring Janet Leigh (Psycho) You can tell Wayne is comfortable in his role as Col. James Shannon. Leigh is as beautiful as ever as a Russian pilot, she and Wayne fall in love, but later on General Black reveals shes a spy. Sounds like a good movie... ...BUT, this DVD is jumpy, and has a pink circle pop up in the left corner about every 15 seconds. It doenst supprise me though, Goodtimes home video (who released this DVD) has never released a high quility movie. They are recorded in LP mode and have a high pitched squeal in them. I give this movie 4/5 stars, but the DVD is a 3/5 If you want this movie I sugest you buy the VHS it is also Goodtimes video, but it doesnt bother you as much."
A Camp Masterpiece
Aaron Headly | Ann Arbor, MI USA | 09/28/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie refuses to make any sense, but it is a ton of fun to watch. It should be part of any Cold War movie fan's collection (double feature suggestions: The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Dr. Strangelove). Hilariously sincere claptrap with wonderful production values.
The DVD itself surprised me: the quality of the one I got was excellent - great color, clear sound, nice widescreen version."