Review: ‘Jet Pilot’

Jet Pilot was made around 1950 and kept under wraps by indie film-maker Howard Hughes for unstated (but much speculated upon) reasons. Its story has a pretty, young girl as a Russian jet pilot who, on a spy mission, wings into a love match with an American airman in the United States.

Jet Pilot was made around 1950 and kept under wraps by indie film-maker Howard Hughes for unstated (but much speculated upon) reasons. Its story has a pretty, young girl as a Russian jet pilot who, on a spy mission, wings into a love match with an American airman in the United States.

Questionable is the casting of Janet Leigh. While John Wayne fits the part of a colonel in the Yank Air Force, the slick chick looks more at home in a bathing suit at Palm Springs than she does jockeying a Soviet MIG, and shooting down her own countrymen, in Russia. The incongruity would appear less glaring if Pilot were out to be a takeoff on secret agent stuff. But much of it is played straight.

Film opens at a US airbase in Alaska where Wayne is in charge. Leigh flies in, tells skeptic Wayne that she escaped from Russia, and is taken in tow by the colonel who gets the assignment of seeking information from her. Picture moves to Palmer Field and Palm Springs, love blossoms, marriage follows. Then it’s discovered that Leigh is a spy.

Jet Pilot

Production

RKO. Director Josef von Sternberg; Producer Jules Furthman; Screenplay Jules Furthman; Camera Winton C. Hoch; Editor Michael R. McAdam, Harry Marker, William M. Moore; Music Bronislau Kaper; Art Director Albert S. D'Agostino, Feild Gray

Crew

(Color) Extract of a review from 1957. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

John Wayne Janet Leigh Jay C. Flippen Paul Fix Richard Rober Roland Winters

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