Cold War Propaganda: Strategic Air Command (1955) + Jet Pilot (1957)

November 1, 2016 | By

Strategic_Air_Command_-_1955-_PosterI’ve paired a review of Anthony Mann’s Strategic Air Command (1955) with Howard Hughes’ Jet Pilot (1957) because both fall into the categories of military propaganda, and something one can brand as airplane porn – movies in which the elegance of then-cutting edge aircraft are more than background or tertiary characters in a story.

Call it romantic, fetishistic, or pure adulation of planes, but these films frequently feature gorgeous, recurring montages of vehicles in flight while the human sagas are put on pause.

JetPilot_posterJet Pilot is notorious for being one of two Hughes-supervised productions (the other being The Conqueror) that went through multiple directors and reshoots to keep the filmed aircrafts modern, only to have the movie remain unreleased when studio RKO ran into serious financial troubles, and ultimately closure.

SAC is a more balanced drama – there’s no weird comedic moments, Soviet stereotypes, and Hughesian fixations with ample bust size – but it has a particularly unusual subtext that’s either intentional, purely of my own fantasy, or something modern audiences might mistakenly take from what’s supposed to be a drama of dedication to one’s country, fidelity to its safety, and personal sacrifice for the greater good of democracy.

Olive’s release of SAC was taken from crisp print, and is new to DVD and Blu in Region 1 land, whereas Jet Pilot has yet to enjoy even a decent DVD edition. I’ve ported over my review of KOCH Media’s Region 2 release from the archives, as that’s probably the best transfer on disc right now. RKO’s catalogue is controlled by Warner Bros., but there’s less interest on releasing on disc the final films produced / distributed by RKO, perhaps because of quirky rights issues, or those final titles just aren’t as sexy as older films in the studio’s catalogue. It’s a pity, because as a medium-major, RKO produced quality productions, and had one of the most unique logos in Hollywood:



Coming Soon: Sean Ellis’ WWII drama Anthropoid (2016) from Elevation Pictures + the WII suspense thriller Eye of the Needle (1981) from Twilight Time.

Oh. And more more poster – actual propaganda – that I leave without any smart-assed caption, commentary, or critique.





Mark R. Hasan, Editor

Tags: , , , , ,


Comments are closed.