Kehr’s Weekly Recap: Air Force (1943)

Air Force (1943)

The story of a bomber and its crew, buffeted through most of the major battles of the first weeks of the Pacific war. In this 1943 propaganda film, Howard Hawks finds a perfect vehicle for his study of the male group. William Faulkner polished the dialogue, but as a silent it would still be tremendously exciting and evocative. Recommended. 124 min.

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Kehr’s Weekly Recap: Picnic (1955)

The sometimes underrated Joshua Logan made his directorial debut with this overripe 1955 Daniel Taradash adaptation of a characteristically hyperbolic William Inge play, and the surprising thing is how much of it works—at least until the climactic dance scene with William Holden and Kim Novak, when camp and hysteria tend to take over. Jo Mielziner does such a formidable job of adapting his own theatrical set designs to homespun midwestern locations that you wonder at times if he—and maybe cinematographer James Wong Howe—shouldn’t be credited as codirectors. The secondary cast—Rosalind Russell, Susan Strasberg, Betty Field, Cliff Robertson, and Arthur O’Connell—also keep things pretty lively. 115 min.

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