Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Sabre Jet (1953)

SABRE JET is the story of pilots based in Japan who go off to "work" each day flying combat missions during the Korean War. Each afternoon the pilots' wives gather anxiously at the airfield to see if their men have made it safely home from another mission.

Robert Stack plays a colonel whose estranged wife (Coleen Gray), a reporter, shows up at the base in Japan to write a story. Gray's character has always been obsessed with her career, but her time in Japan causes her to reassess the importance of her husband's military service and their marriage.

The movie is mildly hokey at times, but it's also reasonably entertaining, and interesting as a reflection of the era in which it was made. The two lead characters are a little cold; more development of their backgrounds and relationship would have been welcome. We're never really given the chance to see what once drew them together. Gray's blithely self-absorbed character is particularly hard to understand for much of the running time.

The supporting cast is filled with familiar faces including Leon Ames, Julie Bishop, Amanda Blake, Jerry Paris, and Kathleen Crowley. Ames in particular lends a welcome air of authority and professionalism to the film.

SABRE JET was directed by Louis King. It runs 90 minutes.

Curiously, although the opening credits and other sources indicate the film was shot in color, the print I taped from TCM during Aviation Month last summer was in black and white.

SABRE JET does not appear to have had a video or DVD release. Click on the TCM link above for a page where you can indicate interest in a DVD release.

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