Jet Pilot (1957)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Plot Summary
    Air Force Colonel Shannon is assigned to escort defecting Soviet pilot Anna.
    He falls in love with her, but she is scheming to lure him back to the USSR.
    But Shannon has a scheme of his own.
    Summary written by Jim Beaver

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Col. Jim Shannon
    Janet Leigh .... Lt. Anna Marladovna Shannon/Olga Orlief
    Jay C. Flippen .... Maj. Gen. Black
    Paul Fix .... Maj. Rexford
    Richard Rober .... FBI Agent George Rivers
    Roland Winters .... Col. Sokolov
    Hans Conried .... Col. Matoff
    Ivan Triesault .... Gen. Langrad
    Dorothy Abbott .... Girl (uncredited)
    Phil Arnold .... Bellboy (uncredited)
    Lois Austin .... Saleswoman at Palm Springs dress shop (uncredited)
    Paul Bakanas .... Russian security man (uncredited)
    Gregg Barton .... MP (uncredited)
    John Bishop .... Maj. Sinclair (uncredited)
    Perdita Chandler .... Georgia Rexford (uncredited)
    Joyce Compton .... Mrs. Simpson (uncredited)
    Tom Daly .... Hotel clerk (uncredited)
    James Dime .... Russian security man (uncredited)
    Alan Dinehart III .... Fresh kid at Palm Springs dress shop (uncredited)
    Jane Easton .... Girl (uncredited)
    Bill Erwin .... Sergeant (uncredited)
    Gene Evans .... Airfield sergeant (uncredited)
    Elizabeth Flournoy .... WAF captain (uncredited)
    Paul Frees .... Lt. Tiompkin (uncredited)
    Barbara Freking .... WAAF private (uncredited)
    Vincent Gironda .... Muscleman (uncredited)
    Fred Graham .... Sergeant (uncredited)
    Don Haggerty .... Sergeant (uncredited)
    Janice Hood .... Girl (uncredited)
    Darrell Huntley .... Officer (uncredited)
    Joan Jordan .... WAC sergeant (uncredited)
    Mike Lally .... Waiter (uncredited)
    Harry Lauter .... Sergeant (uncredited)
    Ruth Lee .... Mother (uncredited)
    Nelson Leigh .... FBI agent (uncredited)
    Sylvia Lewis .... WAC corporal (uncredited)
    Herbert Lytton .... FBI agent (uncredited)
    Michael Mark .... Russian general (uncredited)
    Allen Mathews .... Headwaiter (uncredited)
    Keith McConnell .... Bartender (uncredited)
    John Morgan .... Lieutenant (uncredited)
    Al Murphy .... Waiter (uncredited)
    Wendell Niles .... Major (uncredited)
    Richard Norris .... Russian interrogator (uncredited)
    David Ormont .... Russian interrogator (uncredited)
    Jack Overman .... Sergeant (uncredited)
    Denver Pyle .... Mr. Simpson (uncredited)
    Theodore Rand .... Waiter (uncredited)
    Joey Ray .... Waiter (uncredited)
    Gene Roth .... Sokolov's batman (uncredited)
    Jack Shea .... MP (uncredited)
    Jim B. Smith .... (uncredited)
    Ruthelma Stevens .... Saleswoman (uncredited)
    Armand Tanny .... Muscleman (uncredited)
    Kenneth Tobey .... Sergeant (uncredited)
    Mamie Van Doren .... WAF (uncredited)
    Billy Vernon .... Drunk (uncredited)
    Smoki Whitfield .... Henry (uncredited)
    Joan Whitney .... WAC sergeant (uncredited)
    Biff Yeager .... Captain (uncredited)
    Carleton Young .... Technical Sergeant in Palmer Field control tower (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Jules Furthman

    Jules Furthman .... producer
    Howard Hughes .... producer

    Original Music
    Bronislau Kaper

    Winton C. Hoch

    Chuck Yeager .... aerial stunts (uncredited)

    Filmed between December 8, 1949 and February 8, 1950, this long held-back movie finally debuted on September 25, 1957 in Los Angeles, followed by its Manhattan opening at the Palace Theatre on October 4, 1957.

    The US Air Force, still taking advantage of Chuck Yeager's 1947 supersonic flight for publicity, offered his services as a stunt pilot. During a stunt involving the inverted dive of an F-86, Yeager misjudged the dive and overstressed the plane's tail, causing the horizontal stabilizer to come apart while he was too low to eject. He barely managed to pull out.

    In a later flight, his plane's engine lost a turbine disk during a routine climb, forcing a dead-stick landing.

    Howard Hughes intended to show off the latest in aircraft technology in 1950 (when this film was shot). By the time it was released to the public, in 1957, the aircraft featured were already obsolete.

    Features a night intercept of a B-36B by a Lockheed F-94A Starfire. Although the scene is very dark, the rarely seen retractable 20mm cannon turrets of the B-36B are visible in the extended position.

    Russian "Yaks" were portrayed by Lockheed T-33As. Dark paint on the lower fuselage obscured the jet intakes, and the tip of the vertical stabilizer was painted light gray to change its outline.

    Airfield scenes set in Russia were actually filmed on the main flightline at George AFB, outside of Victorville California, which appeared suitably primitive.

    The gloss-black, prototype Northrop XP-89 scorpion appears in some scenes set in Russia.

    The last two flights of the first Bell X-1, Glamorous Glennis, were filmed for inclusion in Jet Pilot. It played the part of a Soviet "parasite fighter". The movie shows it being launched from a Boeing B-29 Superfortress. The X-1 was repainted for its role. The vertical stabilizer, fairings on the top and bottom of the fuselage, and the left wing and horizontal stabilizer were painted white. It continued to wear the movie makeup while displayed at the National Air and Space Museum until it was restored for installation in the Milestones of Flight Gallery in 1976.

    After intercepting the B-36 in a F-94 Starfire, they are shown departing in a F-80 Shooting Star.

    In 1952, at the height of The Cold War, those "take cover" drills, the McCarthy Hearings and the aftermath of the Rosenberg Trials, this picture featured John Wayne portraying an American pilot in love with a defecting Russian spy. The film was put on the shelf for five years.

    The film was produced by RKO in 1950 which was owned by Howard Hughes. By the time it was released in 1957, Hughes had sold RKO and the film was released by Universal.

    * Revealing mistakes: When the fighter breaks off after the radar intercept, the markings on the plane are backwards (flipped film).

    * Continuity: When Anna climbs in the two seat jet, there is a canopy support visible. When she taxis away and lowers the canopy the support is missing. The support is used to prevent the canopy from accidentally closing when ground crew are working on the plane.

    Advertising carried the credits "Starring John Wayne, Janet Leigh,
    and the United States Air Force."

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA
    Victorville Air Force Base, Victorville, California, USA
    Williams Air Force Base, Gilbert, Arizona, USA

    Previous Discussion:-
    Jet Pilot

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 8 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Jet Pilot is a 1957 Cold War action film starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh.
    Written by Jules Furthman and co-produced by Furthman and Howard Hughes,
    The Technicolor movie went through several directorial changes,
    after Josef von Sternberg began the directing between October 1949 and February 1950.
    After that point, Furthman, Philip Cochran (second unit director), Ed Killy (assistant),
    Byron Haskin (for the model work) and Don Siegel also directed scenes
    (Siegel's weren't used), as did Howard Hughes himself.

    Filming dragged on for nearly four years.
    The last day of shooting was in May 1953,
    but the film was kept out of release by Howard Hughes due to his tinkering with the film
    (something for which he was notorious) until October 1957,
    by which time Hughes had sold RKO.
    Universal ended up distributing Jet Pilot.

    Although Jet Pilot was publicized as showcasing the U.S. Air Force's latest jets,
    by the time it was finally shown most of the aircraft in the film were obsolescent or obsolete,
    being supplanted by more modern aircraft.
    In one aerial scene, the two lead characters fly a Lockheed F-94 Starfire
    to test a radar approach to intercept a propeller driven Convair B-36 bomber.

    Jet Pilot was reportedly Howard Hughes's favorite film,
    one he watched repeatedly in his later years.

    How Duke, could make Sands of Iwo Jima and Rio Grande
    and manage to make this utter tosh, in-between, is beyond belief!!!
    One of his Top 5 worse films!
    He should have walked away, from this one, but perhaps it was the money!
    Fortunately, for us all, Howard Hughes hid it from us, for a few years,
    to save us from the torture!!!
    Duke was at his worst hammy, and making silly facial expressions!!
    Another film, adding ammunition, to the critics of his acting.

    One quote I read said that


    the chemistry, between Duke and Janet was great,

    I'm sorry, but I can't see that, it wasn't bad, but chemistry there was not!!
    The whole plot was preposterous and uncredible,
    and everytime we saw, Janet's bosom, we got all those whooshing sounds!!
    It all proved how obsessed and sad, Hughes really was!!!

    It was the Directors, only film, and from this result, one can see why!!
    By the time the film was released,the cold war was obsolete,
    the planes were obsolete,and the whole film, was obsolete!!
    Its reviews were devastating, critics were embarrassed,
    of how outrageous and silly it all was, and the audiences agreed.

    User Review


    A waste
    16 December 2004 | by oilerblueline (New York)

    The aerial footage is nice, but once people start talking, the film goes into a tailspin. The plot seems as though it was made up as they went along (on a few occasions, I thought a reel must be missing) and I don't think I'm giving anything away (like there was any suspense anyway) by saying John Wayne must really love Janet Leigh to stay with her after she pistol whips him. Twice. It's unintentionally hilarious but unbelievably bad. I always like Hans Conreid, but he doesn't show up until the very end. All of the other actors in the film have a wooden presentation, as though they brought in actual air force officers to appear in the film. And if the U.S. military really hatched a plan like this, there should be courts martial all around.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 7 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Jet Pilot. What can you say that hasn’t been said before?
    Janet Leigh’s flight suit is nice.
    Other than that if you were hospitalised and in a coma and forced to watch this film it might be enough to drive you out of your coma out of your bed to find the off switch or bite the power cable in two!
    I would rate it as his worst but with Howard Hughes in charge who knows what the original concept was. At least he had the decency to bury it.


  • Different strokes for different folks I guess. I always considered "Jet Pilot" to be great fun. Why can't anyone see this movie for what it is...a comedy! There are many great lines and scenes...Duke telling Paul Fix he changed his mind about taking Anna to Palmer Fields (after seeing her come from the shower), the running gag about Anna not understanding some of the American lingo (stuffed, cupcake, etc...). I could state at least another dozen times in this film that made me laugh. And lets not forget the absolutely gorgeous technicolor, and the scenes of the jets making maneuvers thru the air.

    Worst 5? As Duke would say, "Not Hardly".

  • Must be the exhaust fumes from the planes. I must inhale next time. B)

    That explains why there is music everytime you see the planes.

    So Jet Pilot and The Conqueor are now both officially comedies?

    Can Ethan and Kevin set up a separate category :stunned:



  • Hi

    I thought Jet Pilot was watchable, the trouble with the picture was thatHughes wouldn't let it go he spent large amounts of money and film shooting the ariel scenes. By the time he had finished as you say the film was badly dated.



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • :uhuh2:

    I'll take Jet Pilot any day over a number of awful films Duke made in the early 40s. Ever watch:

    1) A Reunion in France
    2) A Lady for a Night
    3) Pittsburgh
    4) Seven Sinners

    Now these are some real dogs.

  • Hi Mike,
    I've reviewed your "favourite" RENUNION IN FRANCE
    and it will be appearing tomorrow,

    Best Wishes,

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • It looks like most of you people do not think to much about the film "Jet Pilot" :( but in the 1950s most of us that were in the Service and Flying these Type Aircraft during the Korean War and the First Part of the "Cold War" could hardly wait to see the Film. :rolleyes:

    And even if the story line was weak the Flying Scenes were Great, but with Howard Hughes doing the Film thats what you would get "Great Flying Scenes." :D

    If there are some of you People that like Aviation and Aircraft you can go to the Site below for a Picture Story about the Film "Jet Pilot." :stunned:


    Chilibill :cowboy:

  • Ho Ho Kevin I can hardly wait!

    Yes, William I would agree flying sequences are great and the ONLY highlight in the film. I think Howard spent enough getting them perfect.

    I know a collector who buys films specifically if steam trains are featured in them.

    Amongst many others he had all 3 versions of The 39 Steps for this purpose and also managed to obtain a very rare full length version of The Quiet Man on Super 8.

    When he moved across to DVD projection he offered it to me but by that time
    I was heading that direction to so I declined his offer. He sold to a dealer as a package deal and 2-3 months later I spotted same film selling on Ebay for 7-8 times what he offered it to me for.

    When will I get a brain :stunned:


  • Hi Bill

    As usual the stories and films are great.

    I suppose my Judge of a film is that of all the John Wayne conventions I could have attended the one I went to featured John Wayne in The Fighting Kentuckian followed by Jet Pilot. This involved me leaving home at 5am taking a train and bus to the midlands by Mansfield getting there by 11 am and after seeing the two films getting home around 1am the next mornng.

    And enjoying every minute of it especially as that was the location where I bought Pat Stacey book.

    Keep them coming Bill



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • William...thanks much for the link to the site. It was excellent. As a matter of fact, I just picked up the DVD of Hell's Angels this week, and thought the flying scenes were incredible.

    And as for Howard Hughes association with John Wayne, yes I know I'm in the minority, but I enjoy all three films they made together under RKO.

  • I am glad that there are other people that like to see Duke in films other than the ones that everyone thinks are His Best Films! :D

    Remember films are Just That, and Films and are meant for enjoyment of the people that are watching the Film at the time. :rolleyes: Different Strokes For Different People!!! :jump:

    Chilibill :cowboy:

  • Hi William

    Yes, we should just be grateful that there are so many John Wayne films to enjoy and unlike other actors nearly all his films are available to see in some format of media.

    My deepest apologies Keith :wub: I work with a Kevin and know two or three other Kevins and have a trapped nerve in my back and a couple of painkillers in me today so am slightly more dopey than usual. I shall try to remember in future.

    Well done on all your hard work in bringing together all credit details and quotes for the films they are a great source of information


  • Hi Mike,
    No problem and thanks for your support,
    you have been great with your posts, and
    it's been fun reading your comments,

    Best Wishes, my friend,

    Don't forget tomorrow REUNION IN FRANCE day,

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • I really enjoyed Jet Pilot also and after reading some of these post I decided to think about it, do I really like the movie? Well yep I still do :P

    You can roll a turd in powdered sugar but that doesn’t make it a doughnut.

  • Hi Bill,
    Thanks for your contribution,
    and the pictures are great.
    The other calalry films will be appearing in the next few days,
    so I have no doubt you will be posting on those.

    Best Wishe,

    Best Wishes
    London- England