Winged Victory


2h 10m 1944

Film Details

Also Known As
Moss Hart's Winged Victory
Release Date
Dec 1944
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 20 Dec 1944; Dayton, OH opening: 21 Dec 1944; Los Angeles opening: 27 Dec 1944
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Fort MacArthur, California, United States; Riverside--March Field, California, United States; Stockton, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Winged Victory by Moss Hart (New York, 20 Nov 1943).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11,750ft

Synopsis

Along with his best friends Allan Ross and Frankie Davis, Danny "Pinky" Scariano, a barber in the small town of Mapleton, Ohio, dreams of the day when he will be inducted into the service and given the chance to fly planes for the Air Force. As soon as the newly married Allan receives his much-anticipated induction notice, his wife Dorothy declares that she plans to go with him to aviation school and training camp. A short time later, Pinky and Frankie get their induction papers and are sent with Allan to the Air Force academy. There the cadets are issued uniforms and given a battery of tests measuring, among other things, their coordination and reflexes. The tests are grueling, and Allan begins to wonder if Frankie will be able to pass them. Frankie, whose hometown bride Jane is living with Dorothy near camp, watches with concern as some of the other cadets receive "wash-out tickets" and is relieved when he is passed over. One of the cadets, Peter Clark, convinces the school's review board that his poor scores were due to the fact that his sister had just told him that his girl friend was seeing another man. When Pinky is called before the board and informed that he has failed his depth perception test, he breaks down in tears. Because of his failed test, Pinky is classified a gunner and ships out for separate training, while Frankie, Allan and their friends, Irving Miller from Brooklyn and Bobby Grills, a farmer from Washington State, are assigned to pilot school. During the cadets' first night flight, one of the planes crashes, but the identity of the pilot is not known. The cadets nervously await the news of the dead, and Allan is devastated when he realizes that Frankie was the doomed man. With a heavy heart, Allan goes to tell the tragic news to Jane, who had decided not to tell Frankie that she was pregnant. Later, the cadets, having just graduated from flight school, are assigned to their units. To his joy, Pinky is assigned to the same plane as Allan and Irv, and together with their five crew mates, they name their craft "Winged Victory." The fliers are soon given orders to join the fighting in the South Pacific, but, before leaving, they enjoy one last reunion with their wives in San Francisco. Although the men refuse to reveal that they are shipping out the next morning, the women know the truth and struggle to accept the long wait ahead of them. Later, at their South Pacific base, the crew of the "Winged Victory," exhausted from an all-night patrol, join the other crews in a Christmas celebration. In the midst of the festivities, an air raid siren sounds, and the planes take off for battle. A tire on the "Winged Victory" is damaged during combat, and Pinky is injured. After the plane makes a rough but safe landing at the base and Pinky is rushed away in an ambulance, Allan learns that his wife has given birth to a son. Allan shares his good news with Pinky, whose recovery is assured, and before taking off to rejoin the battle, writes a letter to his son, explaining the importance of his mission and his hopes for the future.

Cast

Sgt. Mark Daniels

Allan Ross

Sgt. Edmond O'brien

Irving Miller

Pvt. Lon Mccallister

Frankie Davis

Cpl. Don Taylor

Danny "Pinky" Scariano

Cpl. Lee J. Cobb

Doctor

T/sgt. Peter Lind Hayes

O'Brian

Cpl. Alan Baxter

Major Halper

Cpl. Red Buttons

Whitey, "Andrews sister"

Cpl. Barry Nelson

Bobby Grills

Sgt. Rune Hultman

Dave Anderson

Cpl. Bernard J. Tyers

Specialty

Cpl. Phillip Bourneuf

Col. Gibney

Cpl. Garry Merrill

Capt. McIntyre

Cpl. Whitner N. Bissell

Sgt. George Reeves

Lt. Thompson

Pfc. George Petrie

Barker

Pfc. Alfred Ryder

Milhauser

Cpl. Karl Malden

Adams

Pfc. Martin Ritt

Gleason

Pfc. Harry Lewis

Cadet Peter Clark

S/sgt. Fred A. Cotton

Cpl. Henry Rowland

Flight surgeon

Lt. Gilbert Herman

S/sgt. Sascha Brastoff

"Carmen Miranda"

Cpl. Archie Robbins

Master of ceremonies

Cpl. Jack Slate

"Andrews sister"

Cpl. Henry Slate

"Andrews sister"

Jeanne Crain

Helen

Jane Ball

Jane Preston Davis

Jo-carroll Dennison

Dorothy Ross

Judy Holliday

Ruth Miller

Geraldine Wall

Mrs. Ross

George Humbert

Mr. Scariano

Cpl. Richard Hogan

Jimmy Gardner

Cpl. Damian O'flynn

Col. Ross

Capt. Ray Bidwell

Officer

Lt. Carroll Riddle

Capt. Speer

Timmy Hawkins

Irving, Jr.

Moyna Macgill

Mrs. Gardner

Frances Gladwin

WAC

Sally Yarnell

Cigarette girl

Norman Mendelssohn

Cadet

Kevin Mccarthy

Cadet

Pvt. Claude Stroud

Druggist

Sgt. Zeke Manners

Specialty

Jack Powell

Specialty

Ray Mcdonald

Specialty

Jerry Adler

Specialty

Jack Powell

Drummer

Patricia Moore

Don Beddoe

Capt. Biddle

J. Larrimore

E. Ott

Beth Willy

Mary Scott

Crew

Joseph Behm

Assistant Director

Elton Box

Composer

Harry Brand

Publicist Director

Sascha Brastoff

Wardrobe and Designer Assistant

Major William J. Clinch

Composer

Desmond Cox

Composer

Robert Crawford

Composer

Lewis Creber

Art Director

Dorothy Fields

Composer

Tod B. Galloway

Composer

E. Ray Goetz

Composer

Mack Gordon

Composer

Eugene Grossman

Sound

Franz Gruber

Composer

Edwin Hammeras

Transparency projection shots

Ralph O. Hammeras

Miniatures

Moss Hart

Screenwriter

Roger Heman

Sound

Sgt. Harry Horner

Cont Designer

Percy Ikerd

Unit Production Manager

Charlotte Kackley

Composer

R. A. Klune

Production Manager

John Larkin

Contract Writer

Capt. Irving Lazar

Production Manager

Charles Le Maire

Wardrobe Director

Lester Lee

Composer

Edgar Leslie

Composer

Thomas Little

Set Decoration

Glen Macwilliams

Director of Photography

Zeke Manners

Composer

Jimmy Mchugh

Composer

Barbara Mclean

Film Editor

George W. Meyer

Composer

Meade Minnigerode

Composer

Joseph Mohr

Composer

May Morris

Research Assistant

Kay Nelson

Costumes

Ben Nye

Makeup Artist

Al Orenbach

Associate (Sets)

Lt. Leonard De Paur

Choral Director

Guy Pearce

Makeup Artist

George S. Pomeroy

Composer

Frances Richardson

Research Director

Sgt. David Rose

Music

David Rose

Composer

Irving Rosenberg

2nd Camera

Fred Sersen

Special Photography Effects

Nat Simon

Composer

Edward Snyder

Transparency projection shots

Murray Spivack

Music mixer

Lee Strasberg

Dialogue Director

Charlie Tobias

Composer

Harry Tobias

Composer

Vinton Vernon

Music mixer

Harry Warren

Composer

Lyle Wheeler

Art Director

Darryl F. Zanuck

Producer

Film Details

Also Known As
Moss Hart's Winged Victory
Release Date
Dec 1944
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 20 Dec 1944; Dayton, OH opening: 21 Dec 1944; Los Angeles opening: 27 Dec 1944
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Fort MacArthur, California, United States; Riverside--March Field, California, United States; Stockton, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Winged Victory by Moss Hart (New York, 20 Nov 1943).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11,750ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film's title card reads: "Twentieth Century-Fox in Association with The U.S. Army Air Forces Presents Moss Hart's Winged Victory." The opening credits conclude with the following statement: "In this picture all the boys in uniform are members of the U.S. Army Air Forces." The training and testing sequence in the film features two fast-talking, off-screen narrators. Most of the musical numbers are performed by a male chorus, without instrumental accompaniment. Red Buttons and Jack and Henry Slate impersonate the Andrews Sisters in the film, and Sascha Brastoff impersonates Carmen Miranda. For their numbers, "Pennsylvania Polka" and "Chica, Chica, Boom, Chic," respectively, the actors mouth the words to the songs as phonograph recordings of the actual singers are played.
       Contemporary news items and studio publicity material, contained at the AMPAS Library, provide the following information about Hart's play and its screen adaptation: In early 1943, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, the commanding general of the Army Air Forces (AAF), asked Hart to write an "intimate story" about AAF fliers. After agreeing, Hart visited various air bases to collect background information for the project. While Hart was writing the play, the AAF conducted auditions at bases around the country, casting approximately 300 AAF personnel in the show. As stipulated in the AAF contract, all cast and crew of the play were active members of the AAF. Hart, who also directed the show, relinquished his salary, and proceeds from the play were donated to the Army Emergency Relief Fund. In late November 1943, soon after the play opened to rave reviews, International Pictures offered to produce a screen version, proposing to put up a $1,000,000 down payment against a percentage of the gross. William Wyler, who was an AAF officer and had recently flown combat missions overseas, was announced as the film's director at that time.
       In mid-December 1943, after International's offer apparently was turned down, Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the screen rights to the play, guaranteeing the Army Emergency Relief Fund a minimum of $1,000,000 from the proceeds. As noted in NARS War Department records, the AAF paid for or supplied Twentieth Century-Fox the negative cost of production, 25% of the distribution charge, out-of-pocket expenses for prints, advertising, exploitation and other direct charges and six million feet of raw 35mm stock. The studio agreed to use the entire cast, orchestra and other personnel from the play, as well as Wyler as director. In mid-March 1944, however, Wyler received permission to return to the front and George Cukor was hired as the film's new director. Hart was to "supervise" the production, which, according to a late March 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, was to be shot in Technicolor.
       According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, Jerry Cady wrote a screen treatment of Hart's play. The extent of his contribution to the final film has not been determined. After the Screen Actors Guild and IATSE approved the use of non-union military personnel in the film, the 300-man cast of the stage play and its commanding officer, Lt. Col. Walter M. Dunham, left New York for Hollywood. On May 29, 1944, the AAF troops marched into the U.S. Army Recreational Camp in Santa Monica, CA, where they were stationed during the film's production. Although the studio's contract with Hart and the AAF stipulated that the top six actors of the stage play, Richard Hogan, Edmond O'Brien, Mark Daniels, Don Taylor, Barry Nelson and Rune Hultman, be cast in the film, Lon McAllister eventually replaced Hogan in the part of "Frankie Davis." Hogan did appear in the picture in a smaller role. It is possible that some of the stage show actors appeared in the film in roles not credited onscreen or in the CBCS. Martin Ritt, who acted in the play and later became well-known as a director, made his screen-acting debut in the picture, as did Karl Malden, Gary Merrill (1915-1990, whose name was spelled "Garry" in the onscreen credits), Red Buttons (1919-2006) and Kevin McCarthy. None of the stage show actresses were cast in the film.
       In early May 1944, Hollywood Reporter announced that Ginger Rogers was a "top contender" for a starring role, and in early June 1944, that actor Robert Cummings, a civilian Army flight instructor at the time, was being sought by Twentieth Century-Fox for a "top role." Although studio publicity noted that Pamela Lawrence, the daughter of renowned stage actress Gertrude Lawrence, was to make her screen debut in the picture, her appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. According to MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library, PCA director Joseph I. Breen objected to the proposed "Andrews Sisters" drag costume, in which coconuts were to be placed over the men's breasts, and the "Carmen Miranda" costume, in which "the man's navel was to appear uncovered." Despite Breen's objections, the costumes were used in the film.
       In addition to using actors from the stage production, Twentieth Century-Fox hired the show's scenery designer, Cpl. Harry Horner, its composer, Sgt. David Rose, and its choral director, Lt. Leonard de Paur. A January 1944 studio memo listed lighting director Abe Feder among the personnel to be imported from the stage production, but his contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed. Winged Victory marked the first film credit of noted actor and Group Theatre founder Lee Strasberg, who worked as the picture's dialogue director, and producer Capt. Irving Lazar (the future literary agent who was more commonly known as "Swifty" Lazar), who had been the stage manager of the play and functioned as the film's production manager for at least part of the production. California location shooting took place at the Stockton Air Field in Stockton, Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, and was scheduled to take place in Santa Ana, San Onofre, Cal-Aero Ontario, March Field in Riverside, and at the military base in Pendleton. Many military dignitaries attended the film's New York premiere at the Roxy Theatre and the Los Angeles premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron declared the week of the picture's opening "Winged Victory" week. More than 600 combat veterans from the AAF Redistribution Center, Santa Ana Army Base and the Birmingham General Hospital in Van Nuys, CA, attended a special pre-release screening of the picture in Hollywood.