The McConnell Story
|The McConnell Story|
|Directed by||Gordon Douglas|
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Cinematography||John F. Seitz|
|Editing by||Owen Marks|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$3.5 million (US)|
The McConnell Story is a 1955 dramatization of the life and career of U.S. Air Force pilot Joseph C. McConnell (1922–1954), who served as a navigator in World War II before becoming the top American ace during the Korean War. He was killed while serving as a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert of California. The Warner Brothers production, filmed in CinemaScope and Warner Color, starred Alan Ladd as McConnell and June Allyson as his wife. Longtime Warners staff composer Max Steiner wrote the musical score for the film.
For a sequence depicting the rescue of a downed B-29 Superfortress crew that McConnell was trying to protect, a Sikorsky H-19 of the 48th Air Rescue Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida, was deployed to Alexandria AFB, Louisiana, for seven days in February 1955. Captain E. R. Thone and Airman First Class Ronald K. Opitz, of the 48th ARS, were the crew for the helicopter, TDY to shoot the rescue sequence.
"Colonel William L. Orris, Commander Detachment No. 1, Air Force Operational Test Center at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico is the technical advisor for the film which will be released by Warner Brothers sometime this summer."
Shown on American Movie Classics, host Bob Dorian said that Ladd, who hated flying, filmed his scenes in mockups in front of blue screens. He also noted that Ladd and Allyson fell in love during filming; Ladd reportedly called Allyson's husband, actor/director Dick Powell, and told him, "I'm in love with your wife," to which Powell replied, "Everyone is in love with my wife."
This film helped establish the Missing Man Formation as part of military aviation culture.
- 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956.
- Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Eglin Group Aiding In Film Story", Playground News, Thursday 3 March 1955, Volume 9, Number 57, page 3.
- American Movie Classics
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