To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
Live Statistics
English Articles
Improved in 24 Hours
Added in 24 Hours
Show all languages
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

Eagle Squadron (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eagle Squadron
Australian film poster
Directed byArthur Lubin
Written byC.S. Forester (story)
Norman Reilly Raine (screenplay)
Produced byWalter Wanger
StarringRobert Stack
Diana Barrymore
John Loder
Nigel Bruce
Narrated byQuentin Reynolds
CinematographyStanley Cortez
Edited byPhilip Cahn
Music byFrank Skinner
Walter Wanger Productions
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • June 16, 1942 (1942-06-16)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,607,422[1]

Eagle Squadron is a 1942 American war film directed by Arthur Lubin and starring Robert Stack, Diana Barrymore, John Loder and Nigel Bruce. It was based on a story by C.S. Forester that appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine, and inspired by media reports of the fighting in the Battle of Britain, in particular, the American pilots who volunteered before the United States entered World War II, to fly for the Royal Air Force in the actual Eagle Squadrons.


As war breaks out in Europe, young Americans Chuck S. Brewer (Robert Stack), Johnny M. Coe (Leif Erickson) and Wadislaw Borowsky (Edgar Barrier) cross the Atlantic to join the Royal Air Force. Assigned to the Eagle Squadron, made up of other American pilots, they make friends with Squadron Leader Paddy Carson (John Loder), and women flyers Anne Partridge (Diana Barrymore) and Nancy Mitchell (Evelyn Ankers). Chuck is immediately attracted to Nancy, but she already has a boyfriend, Hank Starr (Jon Hall), another pilot in the squadron.

Once they are trained as fighter pilots, on their first mission against a German air force base, Johnny and Chuck are shot down, and Johnny is killed. Chuck parachutes into the sea and is rescued, but back at the base, he learns that two other pilots trying to protect them when both Americans broke formation, were also killed.

At a military dance, Chuck and Anne arrange for a date that turns out to be a picnic with a group of evacuated children, interrupted by a German air raid. Later, Squadron Leader Carson, who also likes Anne, takes her to London, with Chuck following the pair. During the bombing of a hospital, Anne is wounded leading others out of the burning building, but finds her father, Sir James Partridge (Paul Cavanagh), a noted pacifist, who dies in her arms.

Chuck and Wadislaw, along with Carson, take part in a commando raid in France to capture a top-secret new "Leopard" German fighter.[N 1] The mission ends with Carson and Wadislaw dead, but Chuck takes off and shoots his way out of enemy territory, bringing the stolen fighter aircraft back to England. At an award ceremony, both Chuck and Anne are decorated for their bravery, but the ceremony is cut short by another German air raid. Chuck, who has proposed to Anne, kisses her on the cheek before taking to the air.


Eagle Squadron featured both American and British actors. L-R: Americans Jon Hall and Robert Stack flank British actor John Loder.
Eagle Squadron featured both American and British actors. L-R: Americans Jon Hall and Robert Stack flank British actor John Loder.

Documentary version

The film began as a documentary on real Eagle Squadron pilots, with cooperation with the British Ministry of Information which provided actual aerial combat footage.[3]

On October 23, 1940 producer Walter Wanger announced he would make Eagle Squadron for United Artists and that he wanted William Wellman to direct. On November 4, 20th Century Fox announced they were going to make a rival project, The Eagles Fly Again, with Henry Fonda and Don Ameche.[4]

In November Wagner hired William Hird Bennett to write the script.[5]

In March 1941 Wanger announced the film would be one of three pictures he would make for United Artists, the other being Sundown and So Gallantly Gleaming.[6] In July Wanger said the film would be part of a four picture deal with UA, the others being Sundown, Cheyenne and To Be Or Not to Be.[7] Harry Watts and Ernest Schoedsack would direct.[8]

Wanger sent fellow producer Merian C. Cooper and directors Harry Watt and Schoedsack, to film the squadron in action. Watt and screenwriter Ian Dalrymple came from the British Crown Film Unit.[9]

The film's producers identified six pilots who would serve as the focus of the film. In September the New York Times reported that they had been shooting in England for three months, and the six men were Andrew Mamedoff, Gregory Daymond, Eugene Tobin, William R. Dunn, Luke Allen and Chesley G Petersen. Schoedsack said he did not want to focus on any particular flier in case one was shot down - that happened to Tobin in September. Schoedsack was forbidden to fly on missions because if he was shot down, as a civilian he would be subject to execution because he was not one of the armed forces.[10]

The squadron continued to fight during filming in Britain, and several pilots were killed. Technical advisor John M. Hill, on leave from the RAF due to a war injury and an actual member of the Eagle squadron, was one of only four pilots of the 17-strong squadron to survive.[2]

The six months of pre-production filming were fraught with many problems, including the reluctance of the Eagle Squadron pilots to take part. It ended with Watt and Dalrymple resigning.[11]

Although the original documentary project was not possible, the footage shot would prove to be recycled for a new film.

Feature film production

In October 1941 Wagner sold his company, including sixteen properties, to United Artists, but kept the rights to Eagle Squadron. Wagner intended to set up a new company and make Eagle Squadron its first film.[12]

On November 17 Wagner announced he had signed a deal to make movies at Universal, including Eagle Squadron. This film would no longer be a documentary but a fictional story, based on a magazine story by C.S. Forester. Norman Reilly Raine was writing the script. The film would use footage taken in England, but now the characters would be played by actors rather than real pilots.[13]

Reportedly the fictional story had been an idea of Raine's, who sold it to Wanger, who then hired Forester to write it up as a magazine story.[14]

In December 1941 Wanger announced the female lead would be played by Diana Barrymore who was appearing on stage in The Land is Bright.[15] Other key roles went to Robert Stack, Leif Ericson and Jon Hall. (while Hall's role is small Wanger later put the actor in Arabian Nights).[16]

In early January Universal announced that the director would be Arthur Lubin.[17] Lubin got the job directing on the back of his success with Abbott and Costello.[18]

Filming started 15 January. Location shooting took place at Universal Studio's backlot outside Los Angeles.[19] Stack remembers Barrymore as "a sad and thoroughly mixed up lady" with "an inclination to drink away her problems, a fiery temper and an erratic emotional perspective. But she had neither the time nor the training to acquire the enormous technical foundation in acting that other members of her famous family had."[20]

Eagle Squadron begins with the onscreen declaration, "This production was made possible through the cooperation of The British Air Ministry, The British Ministry of Information, The Royal Air Force [and] The Eagle Squadron of the R.A.F." Noted war correspondent and radio commentator Quentin Reynolds, who also documented the role of the Eagle squadrons, narrates an extended foreword.[2]


Box office

Although real Eagle Squadron pilots disliked its fictionalization of their experiences, Eagle Squadron was a box office hit, earning a profit of $697,607.[1][21] Variety said it earned $1.8 million in rentals in the US in 1942.[22] Its San Francisco premiere at the Orpheum Theater, raised $200,000 in war bond sales.[2]

Critical response

Critically, the film did not fare well. Bosley Crowther, in his review in The New York Times, thought the blending of fictional and real-life events was outlandish and dismissed the film as nothing more than a B film. He wrote that Eagle Squadron was "... far from the genuine drama about American fliers with the R. A. F. that it should be, but is rather a highfalutin war adventure film which waxes embarrassingly mawkish about English courage and American spunk."[23]

See also



  1. ^ The aircraft that is seen in the film is the Messerschmitt Bf 109.[2]
  2. ^ The film marked Diana Barrymore's feature film debut.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Bernstein 2000, p. 441.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Notes: Eagle Squadron (1942)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: August 26, 2014.
  3. ^ Orriss 1984, pp. 50–51.
  4. ^ Screen News Here and in Hollywood: Conflict Over Priority Rights to Filming Story of Eagle Squadron Is Reported. New York Times 5 Nov 1940: 33.
  5. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times 9 Nov 1940: 20.
  6. ^ Wanger Plans Three Films: First Production for 1941 to Be 'Sundown,' Northeast Africa Story Los Angeles Times March 3, 1941: A2.
  7. ^ John Wayne Will Star in 'Cheyenne' for Wanger - New York Times July 21, 1941: 18.
  8. ^ Wanger Will Produce Four Pictures in Year: United Artists to Release Studio's Output; Work Under Way on Film Laid in East Africa. Los Angeles Times July 25, 1941: 14.
  9. ^ Glancy 1999, p. 122.
  10. ^ Getting Down to Facts: Hollywood Shows an Uncommon Interest In Documentary Films -- Other Items. By Douglas W. Churchill. New York Times September 14, 1941: X3.
  11. ^ Glancy 1999, p. 124.
  12. ^ UNITED ARTISTS SET TO PRODUCE MOVIES: Distributing Group in Change of Policy Enters Field to Aid Independent Production BUYS ALL WANGER STOCK Acquires Rights to 16 Screen Properties as Well as Studio Facilities at Sam Goldwyn's New York Times 16 Oct 1941: 24.
  13. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Wanger's 'Eagle Squadron' to Be Released by Universal. New York Times 18 Nov 1941: 33.
  14. ^ Another Barrymore for Screen: Hollywood Letter. By Frank Daugherty. The Christian Science Monitor 27 Mar 1942: 10.
  15. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD:. New York Times 22 Dec 1941: 25.
  16. ^ Vagg, Stephen (April 9, 2022). "The Campy, Yet Surprisingly Interesting Cinema of Jon Hall". Filmiink.
  17. ^ News From Hollywood New York Times 3 Jan 1942: 15.
  18. ^ Vagg, Stephen (14 September 2019). "The Cinema of Arthur Lubin". Diabolique Magazine.
  19. ^ Orriss 1984, p. 51.
  20. ^ Stack, Robert; Evans, Mark (1980). Straight shooting. Macmillan. p. 90.
  21. ^ Cull 1995, pp. 181–182.
  22. ^ "101 Pix Gross in Millions" Variety 6 Jan 1943 p 58
  23. ^ Crowther, Bosley. "Eagle Squadron (1942) 'Eagle Squadron,' Action Film of Americans in R.A.F., With Diana Barrymore, Jon Hall and Robert Stack, at Globe." The New York Times, July 3, 1942.


  • Bernstein. Matthew. Walter Wanger: Hollywood Independent. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-81663-548-1.
  • Cull, Nicholas John. Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign against American 'Neutrality' in World War II. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN 978-0-19511-150-7.
  • Glancy, H. Mark. When Hollywood Loved Britain: The Hollywood 'British' Film 1939-1945. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1999. ISBN 978-0-71904-853-1.
  • Orriss, Bruce. When Hollywood Ruled the Skies: The Aviation Film Classics of World War II. Hawthorne, California: Aero Associates Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-9613088-0-X.

External links

This page was last edited on 23 February 2023, at 02:33
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.