|DESPERATE JOURNEY (director: Raoul Walsh; screenwriter: Arthur T. Horman; cinematographer: Bert Glennon; editor: Rudi Fehr; music: Max Steiner/Hugo W. Friedhofer; cast: Errol Flynn (Flight Lt. Terrence Forbes), Ronald Reagan (Flying Officer Johnny Hammond), Raymond Massey (Maj. Otto Baumeister), Arthur Kennedy (Flying Officer Jed Forrest), Sig Ruman (Preuss), Patrick O'Moore (Squadron Leader Lane Ferris), Alan Hale (Flight Sergeant Kirk Edwards), Ronald Sinclair (Flight Sergeant Lloyd Hollis), Kaethe Brahms (Nancy Coleman); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Hal B. Wallis/Jack Saper; Warner Bros. Pictures; 1942)|
Hollywood propaganda World
War II adventure film."
by Dennis Schwartz
rousing Hollywood propaganda World
War II adventure film, shot in black and white,
during the early days of the war. It tells about
the heroics of the RAF. Raoul Walsh ("Gentleman
Jim"/"White Heat"/"The Roaring Twenties") directs as
if a 'boys' adventure film. The screenplay is written
by Arthur T. Horman, as if a text-book
example of how to make an appealing patriotic war
RAF bomber crew assigned to bomb a
German railway is shot down over
German-occupied Poland; eight men are in the plane,
but only five survive the crash and
are taken as POWs. The camp
commander is the no-nonsense Major Otto Baumeister.
The survivors are: the headstrong Aussie Flight
Lt. Terrence Forbes (Errol Flynn); the affable flying
Officer Johnny Hammond (Ronald Reagan), an American;
the blustering middle-aged Flight
Sergeant Kirk Edwards (Alan
Hale ), a Scot; the practical Flying
Officer Jed Forrest (Arthur
Kennedy), a Canadian; and the
wide-eyed Flight Sergeant Lloyd Hollis (Ronald
Sinclair), the wounded son of a famous World
War I flyer. Since the squadron leader is
killed, Forbes is now in charge.
RAF prisoners, led by Hammond, overpower their
captors and find papers about a hidden
Messerschmidt factory. They then trek across enemy
territory, trying to reach safety. They are helped by
Kaethe Brahms (Nancy Coleman), a member of the
underground. Meanwhile Baumeister
is relentlessly in pursuit.
a few troubling adventures and of destroying a German
chemical factory, they steal Baumeister's
car and drive to the border. Kaethe then leaves the
men to carry on in Germany. When the men cross the
border, they run out of gas and follow a passing
gasoline carrier. This leads them to a camouflaged
captured English bomber. The two survivors,
Terry and Johnny, then fly the plane to England.
is too simplistic for the fast-paced comic-strip
action melodrama to be anything but ludicrous. But
it should appeal to those who like pics where the
Nazis are shown as stupid and getting their asses
kicked. Errol Flynn did the pic when the draft board
rejected him for service because of being medically
unfit (diagnosed with TB).
REVIEWED ON 6/25/2015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ