U.S. Navy pilot Frank ‘Spig’ Wead is a fun-loving and rowdy adventurer, but also a fierce proponent of Naval aviation. His dedication to the promotion of the Navy’s flying program is so intense that his marriage and family life suffer. When an accident paralyzes him, Spig finds a new means of expressing his love of flying: screenwriting. Successful and acclaimed, he finds the U.S. entry into World War II to be an irresistible call. Pleading that he be reinstated in the Navy despite his paralysis, Spig finds he has an enormous contribution yet to make. —IMDb
Maine-born John Ford (born Sean Aloysius O’Fearna) originally went to Hollywood in the shadow of his older brother, Francis, an actor/writer/director who had worked on Broadway. Originally a laborer, propman’s assistant, and occasional stuntman for his brother, he rose to became an assistant director and supporting actor before turning to directing in 1917. Ford became best known for his Westerns, of which he made dozens through the 1920s, but he didn’t achieve status as a major director until the mid-‘30s, when his films for RKO (The Lost Patrol 1934, The Informer 1935), 20th Century Fox (Young Mr. Lincoln 1939, The Grapes of Wrath 1940), and Walter Wanger (Stagecoach 1939), won over the public, the critics, and earned various Oscars and Academy nominations. His 1940s films included one military-produced documentary co-directed by Ford and cinematographer Gregg Toland, December 7th (1943), which creaks badly today (especially compared with… read more
The last 25 minutes of this movie englobe the least inspired shots and scenes Ford ever created. "The Wings of Eagles" works until a certain point: then it becomes turgid, obvious and even corny in the end. Too much of a simplistic picture for someone who did "What Price Glory" or "Fort Apache". I think only "Two Rode Together" is worse than this. Militarism and duty in their worst forms.
Life lived, a series of ellipses that functions as one of Ford's more experimental works (he often hid his casual radicalism in plain sight), more of a symphonic piece. His highly underrated use of color is in full bloom here. Wayne delivers what is possibly a career best, and Ward Bond provides a hilarious cameo spoof of Ford himself.