Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

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Lance
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Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by Lance » Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:56 pm

I caught this film for the first time on TCM this morning, watching from bed, of course. I was disappointed. I have long had a great admiration for KARL MALDEN, who probably played his part better than anyone else. I note that NATALIE WOOD received top billing for this film right along with Karl Malden. One wonders if she was given top billing AFTER her later claim to fame. I didn't think her part was all that effective within the film. I also felt that actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. was not very convincing in his role though it wasn't terrible. The film was made in 1957, but generally, I thought it overacted and unrealistic in many ways. Anyone else see this film of late. Am I on the wrong track with this one in my appraisal?

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From Wikipedia ...

Bombers B-52 is a 1957 film starring Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and Nelson Leigh. It was directed by Gordon Douglas, and was adapted from a novel by Sam Rolfe. The screenwriter was Irving Wallace. Leonard Rosenman composed the film score.

Plot

20 year USAF M/Sgt. Chuck Brennan (Malden) dislikes the 'hotshot' Lt. Col. Jim Herlihy (Zimbalist) and this career-long problem interferes with flight operations and aircraft support. Brennan has not trusted Herlihy since an incident in the Korean War. When Herlihy dates Brennan's daughter Lois, tensions grow. Story aircraft is the B-52 Stratofortress bomber of the 329th Bomb Squadron, Castle Air Force Base, California.

Cast

Natalie Wood as Lois Brennan
Karl Malden as Master Sergeant Chuck V. Brennan, Line Chief
Marsha Hunt as Edith Brennan
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Lieutenant Colonel Jim Herlihy, Commanding Officer 329th Bomber Squadron
Don Kelly as Master Sergeant Darren McKine
Nelson Leigh as Brig. General Wayne Acton, Commanding Officer Castle Air Force Base
Robert Nichols as Wilbur 'Brooklyn' Stuart
Ray Montgomery as Barnes
Robert Hover as Simpson (as Bob Hover)
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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HoustonDavid
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Re: Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:15 pm

Lance, you indeed wasted your time with this film. It was IMO, an update of a slightly better
film starring Jimmy Stewart in "Strategic Air Command", which featured the "exciting" new B-47
bomber, a short-lived predecessor of the B-52, when it was introduced to the then new U.S. Air
Force. Stewart interrupted his film career to become a decorated officer in the Army Air Corps in
World War II, and eventually retired as a Reserve Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force.

When the B-52 came along a couple of years after "SAC" was filmed, Hollywood seemed to think
they should also update their Air Force film inventory. The result was this really terrible film with
- at best - a very mediocre cast. Thankfully, Jimmy Stewart didn't waste his talent and time on
this lousy update.

Fortunately, the actual B-52 has far surpassed this film in its contribution to military history, and
is still a vital part of the active Air Force inventory after over 50 years. It was introduced in 1955.
No other plane has had such a long active duty life. Fortunately, the film has had very few screeings,
probably out of embarrassment.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:58 am

HoustonDavid wrote: Fortunately, the actual B-52 has far surpassed this film in its contribution to military history, and
is still a vital part of the active Air Force inventory after over 50 years. It was introduced in 1955.
No other plane has had such a long active duty life. Fortunately, the film has had very few screeings,
probably out of embarrassment.

For a better war movie with Karl Malden, try Patton. For a better movie with the B-52, try Dr. Strangelove. :wink:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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HoustonDavid
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Re: Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by HoustonDavid » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:10 pm

Couldn't agree with you more on both counts, John. I still can't get over the black humor
genius displayed by Stanley Kramer in "Dr. Strangelove", and "Patton" is tour-de-force (and
Oscar winning role) for George C. Scott, more-than-ably supported by Karl Malden. Strangelove
is one of my top 10 films and also a tour-de-force for one of England's greatest actors, Peter
Sellers. He played four characters in the film, including the title role, and was originally slated
to play the part of the B-52 bomber pilot (wonderfully acted by Slim Pickens), but broke his leg
and couldn't. Rumor has it that Slim Pickens actually thought the script was for a "serious" film
about the Cold War.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

jbuck919
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Re: Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:07 pm

HoustonDavid wrote:He ... was originally slated
to play the part of the B-52 bomber pilot (wonderfully acted by Slim Pickens), but broke his leg
and couldn't.
What I heard was that he could not master the Texas accent.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

HoustonDavid
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Re: Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by HoustonDavid » Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:03 pm

According to Filmsite's Greatest Films, "Sellers was originally cast to appear in a fourth role,
as Major T. J. Kong (played by Slim Pickens in the film), but once he was finally able to acquire
the right Texan accent, he broke his leg and couldn't play the part."
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by Lance » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:54 pm

I'm glad I wasn't off the ball on evaluating this Bombers B-52 film. Malden actually did the best job acting-wise, but overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being bad, I probably wouldn't give this one more than a 2 overall.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:00 pm

In the late sixties I trained as an Aircraft Engineer before turning into a photographer, we were told that a Boeing 707 was the only civilian aircraft that could loop, we though it meant like a ferris wheel, I was talking to Col. Bob about this one day and he told me that after the War Boeing needed buyers for planes and used the B52's engineering and technology for the 707, which was to be both a Military and Civilian plane, it was designed so that if it was hit with a Nuclear Blast wave it can spiral it's way out of trouble...just think about that for a minute...
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HoustonDavid
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Re: Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by HoustonDavid » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:11 pm

The B-52 is renowned as a tough aircraft, but spiraling to avoid crashing after a nuclear blast wave...
One wouldn't think such a large aircraft would do the spiral very gracefully, but gracefully isn't the
objective, of course - survival is.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Bombers B-52 with Karl Malden & Natalie Wood

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:30 am

HoustonDavid wrote:The B-52 is renowned as a tough aircraft, but spiraling to avoid crashing after a nuclear blast wave...
One wouldn't think such a large aircraft would do the spiral very gracefully, but gracefully isn't the
objective, of course - survival is.
It's theory is actually based on something called A Dutch Roll...Boeing obviously figured out how to use it as well as prevent it...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_divergence
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