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.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Ford's customarily rose-tinted view of military life, which here consists only of camaraderie, carousing, and a jovial, unconvincing leniency towards breaking the rules. The secret weapon of the film, though, is how that rosiness is put in relief with glimpses of a home life given up. The contrast of hammy staging and meta/documentary elements creates an odd tension, but the storytelling needs work. For completists.
I don't quite love the film, but there's certainly something to it. Like many Ford films a sly critique of what it's supposedly championing: here the surface glorification of the military and the stirring story of the hero who triumphed against all odds is really a portrait of a man who neglected his family and friends in a monomaniacal pursuit of glory, only to understand too late what an empty existence he's led.
The first Ford film that I'm truly mixed about. I loved the cast, but the script is spotty. Case in point - I got up to go to the bathroom and came back a minute later. The narrative had already progressed about 5 or so years.
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.