Dragonfly Squadron

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Dragonfly Squadron
Dragonfly Squadron 1954 poster.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Lesley Selander
Produced by John C. Champion
Written by John C. Champion
Starring John Hodiak
Barbara Britton
Bruce Bennett
Music by Paul Dunlap
Cinematography Harry Neumann
Edited by Walter Hannemann
Production
company
Release dates
  • March 21, 1954 (1954-03-21) (USA)
Running time 83 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $300,000[1]
Box office $700,000[1]

Dragonfly Squadron is an American Korean War war film by Lesley Selander from 1954 It is set in the period shortly before and during the invasion of South Korea by North Korean troops.

The film was originally intended to be released as a 3D film, and was therefore filmed in dual 35mm Polaroid 3-D.[2] But interest in 3D films greatly diminished towards the end of 1953, so when the film premiered in Los Angeles on January 27, 1954,[1] and went on general release on March 21, 1954,[1] only flat prints were shown. The first public showing in 3D happened at the World 3D Film Expo III in September 2013, where a restored version was shown.[3]

Plot[edit]

In May 1950, Major Matt Brady is redeployed to Pusan, South Korea. His mission there is to train South Korean pilots in the defensive struggle. Also, there are air support exercises in case of the need to evacuate the Americans. Colonel Schuller sends Brady and Captain MacIntyre to the airbase in Kungju. The American instructors only have 25 days left to introduce the South Korean pilots to US tactics.

At the base, Brady meets Donna Cottrell, a former fiancé of his. Donna's husband, Red Cross physician Dr. Stephen Cottrell, is said to have been killed in action. When Donna finds out that he is actually alive - he had been captured, but was able to escape - she returns to him. She tells Matt that Stephen cannot work as a surgeon any more, as his hands were badly injured during enemy torture. She is intent on doing the right thing, but she feels torn between the two men.

The training of the South Korean pilots makes progress, which is carefully noted by Dixon, a reporter. Captain Veddors tells him that Matt does not fly any more because he once caused a fatal crash with a test pilot. Matt receives an encrypted message announcing a serious enemy attack. MacIntyre informs Matt that Lieutenant Kim-Sun is not able to fly due to the illness of his sister, but Matt needs every man. Kim-Sun dies in the crash of his plane and, as a consequence, the pilots raise grave reproaches against Matt. MacIntyre suspects that Kim-Sun's plane was sabotaged.

Colonel Schuller orders the evacuation of all Americans and gives Matt the order to release the South Korean pilots into active service. Stephen stays behind in Kungju to carry on his work, while Donna leaves the base in a convoy. The convoy is attacked by two tanks. Colonel Conners cautions Matt that air support for the convoy is out of the question but, by sanction of the UN, intervention by US infantrymen is possible. Matt stays behind on the base with Veddors and MacIntyre.

Soon the news of the invasion of South Korea arrives. Captain Warnowski and his infantry battailon reach Kungju. Of originally 400 men, only 30 remain, due to heavy tank assaults. The infantry find Captain Wyler, who was driving the truck Donna was on; before he dies of his wounds he tell Matt that Donna has successful escaped. As the attacks increase in gravity, North Korean airplanes damage the airfield, and Matt and Warnowski agree to retreat. South Koreans identify an old woman as a spy, who has been transmitting information about the base to the enemy by radio, and execute her.

Matt and his remaining troop come under heavy fire. Matt's arm is wounded and Veddors is killed. In the villange of Chungtu they reach a Red Cross hospital, and soon Donna too arrives there. There she hears that Stephen was killed during the fighting. The enemy tanks thrust forward and force the survivors to retreat further. Only as US planes attack and stop the tanks can Matt, Donna and the rest of the convoy escape.

Main cast[edit]

Production details[edit]

Production began in August 1953 and all scenes were shot in California: at Warner's Ranch near Warner Springs, at Whiteman Air Park in Pacoima, and at the Iverson Movie Ranch near Chatsworth.[1]

Although a news item in Daily Variety of December 14, 1953 reported that a 3D release of Dragonfly Squadron would be tested during four bookings in early 1954, it has not been established that the film played any 3D engagements. Its Los Angeles opening in January 1954 was in a "flat" version, as was all prints that went on general release in March 1954.[1]

According to a note in The Hollywood Reporter in 1967, the Allied Artists production cost $300,000 and grossed $700,000.[1]

The life of the movie's military consultant Colonel Dean Hess was made into a movie three years later by Douglas Sirk, titled Battle Hymn. Rock Hudson starred as the US pilot who later became a politician.[1]


References[edit]

External links[edit]