I've seen all of the eight films James Stewart made with director Anthony Mann, and STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND (1955) is a personal favorite.
I'm thus happy to report that it's now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Olive Films.
I suspect I may be in the minority when I name STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND as a Mann-Stewart favorite alongside WINCHESTER '73 (1950) and BEND OF THE RIVER (1952). It's not a film which seems to come up in discussion much alongside their Western classics, but it's a movie I enjoy tremendously.
This 112-minute Air Force "procedural," which I first reviewed in 2012, is a real "feel good" film for me; it's beautiful to look at and filled with countless favorite faces.
Of course, it would have been nice if he'd bothered to tell his wife Sally (June Allyson) about the re-enlistment first, and she is understandably upset to have been kept in the dark on such a major life decision. Otherwise she's a grand sport, dealing calmly with whatever Dutch's career changes throw at her.
This Vista Vision movie is a visually beautiful film which looks lovely on the Olive Films Blu-ray. It's quite a step up from the VHS tape I watched a few years ago! The aerial sequences, filmed by Thomas Tutwiler, are gorgeous, as is the rest of the film, shot by William H. Daniels. It's a great look at the '50s, including not only planes but cars and interior design.
STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND is a film where, in addition to fine leads in Stewart and Allyson, the supporting cast gives me great pleasure. One by one they appear on camera: James Millican, Frank Lovejoy, Barry Sullivan, Bruce Bennett, Alex Nicol, Harry Morgan, Jay C. Flippen, Rosemary DeCamp. There's something special about this movie-making era, when a single film could have all those faces in the cast!
STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND was a movie James Stewart very much wanted to make. Stewart, who had many years of Air Force service and retired as a Brigadier General in the reserves, felt the country should understand SAC's role defending our nation and secured Air Force cooperation.
The screenplay was by Valentine Davies (MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET) and Beirne Lay Jr.; Lay specialized in military subjects and cowrote other excellent films such as TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH (1949), ABOVE AND BEYOND (1952), and THE GALLANT HOURS (1960).
Thanks to Olive Films for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.