John Ridgely (Capt. Mike Quincannon), Gig Young (Lt. Bill Williams), Arthur Kennedy (Lt. Tommy McMartin), Charles Drake (Lt. Munchauser), Harry Carey (Sgt. Robby White), George Tobias (Cpl. Weinberg), Ward Wood (Cpl. Peterson), Ray Montgomery (Pvt. Chester), John Garfield (Sgt. Joe Mock), James Brown (Lt. Tex Rader), Stanley Ridges (Maj. Mallory), Willard Robertson (Colonel), Moroni Olsen (Col. Blake), Edward Brophy (Sgt. J.J. Callahan), Richard Lane (Maj. W.G. Roberts), Faye Emerson (Susan McMartin).
One of the finest (if not the finest) American war propa¬ganda films produced during WW II, AIR FORCE fits per¬fectly into the canon of its director, Howard Hawks. A filmmaker who excels at portraying group action (as
opposed to John Ford, whose films depict individual stances), Hawks tells the story of the Mary Ann, a B-17 bomber, and its crew. The film begins with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and ends with a retaliatory US strike on Tokyo; in the interim, Hawks shows us the crew fighting as a unified group. While there is much here the viewer may find offensive (notably the predictable anti¬"Jap" rhetoric), Hawks' mesmerizing direction is so assured and emotional that one cannot but help but be drawn into the characters' world. Made with the full coop¬eration of the Army Air Corps, the film is a mosaic of the essential elements of war propaganda: sense of loss, ven¬geance (the midair machine-gunning of a young para¬trooper by an enemy fighter and John Garfield's retaliation are harrowing and unforgettable), pride, nationalism, and above all for Hawks, survival of the group.