The Wings of Eagles

Infobox Film
name = The Wings of Eagles



caption = 1957 movie poster
director = John Ford
producer = Charles Schnee
writer = screenplay
Frank Fenton
William Wister Haines
based on the book by
Frank Wead
starring = John Wayne
Dan Dailey
Maureen O'Hara
Ward Bond
Ken Curtis
music = Jeff Alexander
cinematography = Paul Vogel
editing =
distributor = Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
released = February 22, 1957
runtime = 110 min.
country = USA
awards =
language = English
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
amg_id = 1:54799
imdb_id = 0051198

"The Wings of Eagles" is a 1957 film about Frank "Spig" Wead and US Naval Aviation from its inception through World War II. The film is a tribute to Wead from his friend, director John Ford.

John Wayne plays naval aviator-turned-screenwriter Wead who wrote the story or screenplay for such films as "Hell Divers", "Ceiling Zero", and "They Were Expendable".

Soon after World War I is over, "Spig", along with John Dale Price (Ken Curtis later of "Gunsmoke" fame) tries to prove to the Navy the value of seaplanes in combat. To do this he pushes the Navy to compete in racing and endurance competitions. Many are against the US Army aviation team led by Captain Herbert Allen Hazard (based on Jimmy Doolittle - played by Kenneth Tobey).

Wead spends most of his time either flying or horsing around with his team mates, meaning that his wife Minnie, or "Min" (Maureen O'Hara), and children are ignored. The night he is promoted to fighter squadron commander, he falls down a flight of stairs at home, breaks his neck and is paralyzed. When "Min" tries to console him he rejects her and the family. He will only let his Navy mates like "Jughead" Carson (Dan Dailey) and Price near him. "Jughead" visits the hospital almost daily to encourage Frank's rehabilitation. Carson also pushes "Spig" to get over his depression, try to walk, and start writing. Being paralyzed and not going anywhere, he has all the time he needs to write.

Director Ford tries to show Wayne as the vulnerable American hero as he did several times in other movies like "The Quiet Man", "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", "Rio Grande", and more. Ford wanted the hero to be extremely tough but at the same time have a quiet sensitivity under the surface.

Look for Ford, and a little shelf-humor on his part, in the character of John Dodge played by another Ford favorite, Ward Bond.

External links

*imdb title| id=0051198|title=The Wings of Eagles
*amg title | id=1:54799 | title=The Wings of Eagles
*tcmdb title | id=2304 | title=The Wings of Eagles
* [http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=62546 Article] at Turner Classic Movies website


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