God Is My Co-Pilot


1h 28m 1945
God Is My Co-Pilot

Brief Synopsis

A flyer dismissed as too old fights to prove himself against the Japanese.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adventure
War
Release Date
Apr 7, 1945
Premiere Information
World premiere in Macon (GA): 15 Mar 1945; New York opening: 23 Mar 1945
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book God Is My Co-Pilot by Colonel Robert Lee Scott, Jr., U. S. Army Air Force (New York, 1943).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,913ft

Synopsis

In Kunming, China, in 1942, pilot Robert L. Scott watches Major General Claire L. Chennault with envy as he briefs a squadron of pilots for an air strike on Japan. The grounded Scott is upset that he will not be able to participate in an action for which he has prepared from the time he was a small boy living on a farm near Macon, Georgia: As a teenager, Scottie buys an old World War I airplane, then in 1932, he graduates from West Point. Later, Scottie qualifies as a pilot at Kelly Field in Texas. After his marriage to Catherine, Scottie trains to be a combat pilot, but when war is declared, is forced to become an instructor, because at thirty-four he is too old to fight. One day, Scottie is ordered to Wright Field in Florida. After additional training, Scottie and his crew fly a B-17 bomber plane under sealed orders to India, where they then wait for further orders. Eventually, the crew learns that they were to bomb Tokyo from a base in the Philippines, but because the Japanese have since occupied the islands, the mission has been canceled. Instead, the crew is assigned to ferry supplies to the Flying Tigers, mercenaries under the leadership of Chennault, who have contracted to fight on behalf of the Chinese government. After Scottie witnesses the Tigers' aggressive response to a Japanese attack, he entreats Chennault to teach him the Tigers' combat techniques. Chennault agrees to loan Scottie a battered airplane to repair and train in. Later, during a solo encounter with the Japanese, Scottie is so effective that the Japanese mistake him for an entire squadron. The killing takes its toll on Scottie, however, and he tries to resolve his feelings during talks with Catholic priest "Big Mike" Harrigan. When the Flying Tigers' contract with the Chinese elapses, Chennault is made a brigadier-general in the U.S. Army Air Force. Goaded by the Japanese, the retiring Flying Tigers decide to stay on until the new Air Force pilots are ready to take over. After the squadron carries out a bombing raid on Hong Kong, which is occupied by the Japanese, Scottie is reported dead. Scottie is alive, but when he returns to the base, he is worn out from malaria attacks and combat fatigue. Although the doctor grounds him, Scottie prays that he be allowed to fly one last mission, and just as the squadron takes off for Tokyo, Chennault sends Scottie with them.

Cast

Dennis Morgan

Col. Robert L. Scott

Dane Clark

Johnny Petach

Raymond Massey

Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault

Alan Hale

"Big Mike" Harrigan

Andrea King

Catherine Scott

John Ridgely

Tex Hill

Stanley Ridges

Col. Meriam Cooper

Craig Stevens

Editor Rector

Warren Douglas

Bob Neale

Stephen Richards

Sgt. Baldridge

Charles Smith

Pvt. Motley

Minor Watson

Col. Caleb V. Haynes

Richard Loo

"Tokyo Joe"

Murray Alper

Sgt. Aaltonen

Bernie Sell

Gil Bright

Joel Allen

Lt. Doug Sharp

John Miles

Lt. "Alabama" Wilson

Paul Brooks

Lt. Jack Horner

Clarence Muse

Frank

William Forrest

Dr. Reynolds

Frank Tang

Chinese captain

Philip Ahn

Japanese announcer at Hong Kong

Dan Dowling

Frank Schiel

Buddy Burroughs

Scott, as a boy

George Cleveland

Catherine's father

Ghislaine Perreau

Robin Lee

Don Mcguire

A.V.G. groundman

William Challee

A.V.G. groundman

Joel Friedkin

Newspaper editor

Frank Jacquet

Older man

Lou Mason

Older man

James Flavin

Major

Richard Wang

Japanese officer

Eddie Lee

Japanese officer

Leon Lontoc

Japanese officer

Luke Chan

Japanese officer

Doris Chan

Geisha girl

Bo Ling

Geisha girl

Bo Ching

Geisha girl

Frances Chan

Geisha girl

Elena Beattie

Specialty dancer

Joy Darwin

Dancer

Bonnie Campana

Dancer

Matia Antar

Dancer

Susanne Ramos

Dancer

Barbara Gill

Dancer

Mari Jinishian

Dancer

Paul Fung

General Kitcheburo

Sanders Clark

British officer, prisoner

Phyllis Adair

American girl, prisoner

Wing Foo

Japanese announcer

Harold Fong

Japanese announcer

Clarence Lung

Chinese civilian

Sammee Tong

Chinese civilian

Barbara Jean Wong

Chinese nurse

Jean Wong

Chinese nurse

Chet Voravan

Japanese pilot

Bob Chinn

Japanese pilot

Jack Santos

Japanese pilot

Weaver Levy

Japanese pilot

Angel Cruz

Japanese pilot

Albert Law

Japanese pilot

George Chung

Japanese pilot

Paul King

Japanese pilot

Fred Fisher

American pilot

Charles Hayes

American pilot

Steve Keyes

American pilot

Nick Kirk

American pilot

Ralph Mccolm

American pilot

Russell Platt

American pilot

Henry Vroom

American pilot

Lionel Sells

American pilot

Warren Cross

American pilot

Randy O'hara

American pilot

Dale Van Sickel

American pilot

Tom Steele

American pilot

Robert Strong

American pilot

Art Foster

American pilot

Joe Marievsky

Ground crewman

Emilio Alegata

Ground crewman

James Linn

Ground crewman

Sigmundo A. Martinez

Ground crewman

Leo Abbey

Ground crewman

Carlos Garrido

Ground crewman

Frank Ho Wong

Ground crewman

Don Escobar

Ground crewman

Percy Incion

Ground crewman

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adventure
War
Release Date
Apr 7, 1945
Premiere Information
World premiere in Macon (GA): 15 Mar 1945; New York opening: 23 Mar 1945
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book God Is My Co-Pilot by Colonel Robert Lee Scott, Jr., U. S. Army Air Force (New York, 1943).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,913ft

Articles

God Is My Co-Pilot - God is My Co-Pilot


From his earliest days, Robert Scott wanted to fly, going so far as to jump off the end of the garage with an umbrella in that time-tested kid stunt. Undaunted, Scott went on to fly for the U.S. Mail, enrolled in West Point, and eventually attained the rank of colonel in the Army Air Corps (there was no separate branch for the Air Force at the time). After service as a flight instructor, the Macon, Georgia, native accepted a hazardous mission in China. From there, he wound up serving with General Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers. Though outnumbered and constantly in need of supplies, the Flying Tigers nonetheless managed to hold off the Japanese enemy while flying the near-obsolete P-40s, until the tide of war turned.

Based on the memoirs of Colonel Scott, God Is My Co-Pilot (1945) chronicles the story of the Flying Tigers, with a special emphasis on the spiritual conflicts that go along with the life of a fighter pilot in wartime. Scott (Dennis Morgan) is stricken with guilt after strafing a Japanese column and seeing men fall dead beneath his plane's bullets. For solace, he turns to the priest, Mike Harrigan (Hale), who benevolently gives Scott a special prayer for pilots. Eventually, Scott's faith is put to the test when his plane is shot down and he's stranded behind enemy lines.

Though critics of the time gave God Is My Co-Pilot lukewarm reviews, calling it mawkish and pedestrian, the film proved to be a hit with audiences. Indeed, it was the number-one film among GIs between the years l942 and l945, possibly because they understood the psychological and spiritual anguish of the film's characters. Raymond Massey, as General Chennault, had served (and been injured) in both World Wars with the Canadian army. Also, the U.S. military cooperated with the film's production, supplying P-40Fs and crews for the aerial segments and volunteering Luke AFB in Arizona for a filming location.

Director Robert Florey was a very talented "old school" Hollywood director, having moved up the ranks as art director and assistant director since the l920s. His use of an elaborately choreographed dance segment (shot from overhead) in l929's The Cocoanuts predated Busby Berkeley's musical numbers by several years. He was originally slated to direct the 193l version of Frankenstein before being replaced by James Whale. Florey's stylish work on the Lugosi vehicle Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) led many to wonder what the future of horror movies may have been like had he been allowed to direct Frankenstein> as well. Though he was assigned many B-movies and TV shows during his career, Florey also wrote several books on film theory and criticism and was eventually awarded a knighthood in France's Legion d'Honneur for his contributions to film.

Producer: Robert Buckner
Director: Robert Florey
Screenplay: Abem Finkel, Peter Milne
Art Direction: Stanley Fleischer, John Hughes
Cinematography: Sidney Hickox
Costume Design: Leah Rhodes
Film Editing: Folmar Blangsted
Original Music: Franz Waxman
Principal Cast: Dennis Morgan (Col. Robert L. Scott), Dane Clark (Johnny Petach), Raymond Massey (Maj. Gen. Chennault), Alan Hale ("Big Mike" Harrigan), Andrea King (Catherine Scott), John Ridgeley (Tex Hill), Craig Stevens (Ed Rector), Mark Stevens (Sgt. Baldridge).
BW-88m. Closed captioning.

By Jerry Renshaw
God Is My Co-Pilot - God Is My Co-Pilot

God Is My Co-Pilot - God is My Co-Pilot

From his earliest days, Robert Scott wanted to fly, going so far as to jump off the end of the garage with an umbrella in that time-tested kid stunt. Undaunted, Scott went on to fly for the U.S. Mail, enrolled in West Point, and eventually attained the rank of colonel in the Army Air Corps (there was no separate branch for the Air Force at the time). After service as a flight instructor, the Macon, Georgia, native accepted a hazardous mission in China. From there, he wound up serving with General Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers. Though outnumbered and constantly in need of supplies, the Flying Tigers nonetheless managed to hold off the Japanese enemy while flying the near-obsolete P-40s, until the tide of war turned. Based on the memoirs of Colonel Scott, God Is My Co-Pilot (1945) chronicles the story of the Flying Tigers, with a special emphasis on the spiritual conflicts that go along with the life of a fighter pilot in wartime. Scott (Dennis Morgan) is stricken with guilt after strafing a Japanese column and seeing men fall dead beneath his plane's bullets. For solace, he turns to the priest, Mike Harrigan (Hale), who benevolently gives Scott a special prayer for pilots. Eventually, Scott's faith is put to the test when his plane is shot down and he's stranded behind enemy lines. Though critics of the time gave God Is My Co-Pilot lukewarm reviews, calling it mawkish and pedestrian, the film proved to be a hit with audiences. Indeed, it was the number-one film among GIs between the years l942 and l945, possibly because they understood the psychological and spiritual anguish of the film's characters. Raymond Massey, as General Chennault, had served (and been injured) in both World Wars with the Canadian army. Also, the U.S. military cooperated with the film's production, supplying P-40Fs and crews for the aerial segments and volunteering Luke AFB in Arizona for a filming location. Director Robert Florey was a very talented "old school" Hollywood director, having moved up the ranks as art director and assistant director since the l920s. His use of an elaborately choreographed dance segment (shot from overhead) in l929's The Cocoanuts predated Busby Berkeley's musical numbers by several years. He was originally slated to direct the 193l version of Frankenstein before being replaced by James Whale. Florey's stylish work on the Lugosi vehicle Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) led many to wonder what the future of horror movies may have been like had he been allowed to direct Frankenstein> as well. Though he was assigned many B-movies and TV shows during his career, Florey also wrote several books on film theory and criticism and was eventually awarded a knighthood in France's Legion d'Honneur for his contributions to film. Producer: Robert Buckner Director: Robert Florey Screenplay: Abem Finkel, Peter Milne Art Direction: Stanley Fleischer, John Hughes Cinematography: Sidney Hickox Costume Design: Leah Rhodes Film Editing: Folmar Blangsted Original Music: Franz Waxman Principal Cast: Dennis Morgan (Col. Robert L. Scott), Dane Clark (Johnny Petach), Raymond Massey (Maj. Gen. Chennault), Alan Hale ("Big Mike" Harrigan), Andrea King (Catherine Scott), John Ridgeley (Tex Hill), Craig Stevens (Ed Rector), Mark Stevens (Sgt. Baldridge). BW-88m. Closed captioning. By Jerry Renshaw

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

As depicted in the film, Colonel Robert Lee Scott, Jr. was determined to fly airplanes, even as a child. In 1921, he bought a WWI "Jenny" at public auction and took flying lessons from a former WWI pilot. Despite his bad academic record, Scott graduated from West Point in 1932, after taking remedial classes. He married his girl friend after a whirlwind courtship and in 1934 became an Army airmail pilot. After war was declared in 1941, Scott applied for combat duty, but was rejected because of his age. He continued to pursue a combat assignment, however, and eventually, after lying about his experience with the Flying Fortress, was given command of one of thirteen bombers assigned to bomb Japan. The proposed bombing was canceled because, in the meantime, the Japanese had taken all American bases in the Philippines. Scott remained in the Far East as a pilot ferrying men, refugees, and supplies along the China-Assam route. Later he convinced General Claire Chennault to give him a P-40 and became an effective combat pilot. Unlike in the film, Scott was never shot down, although his plane was often shot at and he, himself, was wounded. In January 1943, Scott was ordered back to the United States to train fighter pilots.
       According to a May 4, 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart were both announced as the star of this film. A press release notes that this was at one time to be a Hal B. Wallis production. According to memos included in the records of the War Department, Wallis wanted Colonel Robert L. Scott to play himself in the film, and if that were not possible, wanted Scott to contribute to the script, as he believed the pilot's contribution would make the screenplay more effective. The Army Air Force denied this request, as they believed it would interfere with Scott's military duties. By February 1, 1944, however, Scott was made available for temporary duty as a technical advisor. Other War Department records add that despite objections to an early screenplay, expressed in a September 30, 1943 memo from Colonel William Westlake, assistant to the Director for Army Air Forces, to Allyn Butterfield, Chief of the Feature Film Section of the War Department Bureau of Public Relations, a revised screenplay met with Air Force approval, and by October 1943, War Department cooperation was granted. Macon, GA, the site of the film's world premiere, was Robert Lee Scott's hometown. According to a March 22, 1945 letter from Brig. Gen. Ray L. Owens to Pain, Lowe & Coffin, Esqs. contained in the holdings at NARS, Lieut. Patrick D. Holland was killed during aerial maneuvers that comprised part of his military training and the flight was photographed by the film's cameramen and included in God Is My Co-Pilot. Some scenes were shot on location at Metropolitan Airport in Van Nuys, CA.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring April 7, 1945

Released in United States Spring April 7, 1945