Men of the Sky (1942, B. Reeves Eason)

Men of the Sky opens with General Henry H. Arnold addressing a graduating class of air cadets. Charles P. Boyle’s Technicolor photography is glorious and Harold McKernon’s editing is outstanding and Sky feels like an almost too precious time capsule.

Only then the realism shatters when Arnold starts directly addressing actors, not actual air cadets. All of a sudden, though Boyle’s photography remains wondrous throughout, Sky‘s propaganda becomes a chore to stomach. The problem’s Owen Crump’s script. Crump also narrates the short, so he’s at least enthusiastic in that responsibility, but he can’t string the elements together.

I think Eleanor Parker–as the wife of one of the pilots–has the most lines (like two of them); she’s only in it for thirty seconds. None of the cast are particularly distinctive, not even with Crump trying so hard.

Even as propaganda, Sky is bad. Crump’s too awful a writer.

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