Sunday, May 03, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Flight for Freedom (1943) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

FLIGHT FOR FREEDOM (1943) is one of a trio of Rosalind Russell movies recently released by the Warner Archive.

Another film from the Russell "wave," THE VELVET TOUCH (1948), was reviewed here last weekend. Still ahead to review is the biography SISTER KENNY (1946).

FLIGHT FOR FREEDOM, while not a biography, was clearly inspired by Amelia Earhart, whose plane had disappeared in 1937. The movie, released in early 1943, mixes a pre-WWII spy angle into the story, coming up with an espionage-related reason for the famous pilot's disappearance.

Russell plays aviator Tonie Carter, who has always loved flying but who pushes herself to attain world records after a whirlwind romance with self-centered fellow pilot Randy Britton fizzles.

Randy is played by Russell's costar in TAKE A LETTER, DARLING (1942), Fred MacMurray, while Herbert Marshall plays a plane designer who is Toni's longtime confidante and supporter.

This 102-minute film is watchable enough, with a trio of good lead actors, but it never really catches fire like it should. Russell and Marshall are pleasant, while MacMurray wavers between being a romantic hero and a jerk.

Meanwhile, Tonie is busy setting records and ultimately deciding to sacrifice herself for her nation, resulting in an ending which is unfortunately more dreary than inspiring. It leaves the viewer thinking rather along the lines "I sat through this movie for this?" In the end it's a case of good actors in a disappointing story.

The supporting cast includes Walter Kingsford and Eduardo Ciannelli.

It was directed by Lothar Mendes and filmed by Lee Garmes and the uncredited Frank Redman. Adrian, who had created Russell's gowns when she was previously at MGM, designed the gowns for this RKO film.

The Warner Archive DVD is a good-looking black and white print. There are no extras.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


Blogger barrylane said...

In 1942 Herbert Wilcox directed They Flew Alone with Anna Neagle as Amy Johnson and Robert Newton, again cast in a strong sympathetic part, as her husband, Scottish flyer Jim Mollison. Similar in subject matter t Flight For Freedom but not fiction. Amy's plane crashed in The Atlantic, her body unrecovered. A fine, if currently neglected film.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks very much for sharing that interesting info. I enjoy Anna Neagle and wasn't familiar with it, have made a note.

Best wishes,

12:35 AM  

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