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Aviation Films - M

MacDougal's Aeroplane (Great Britain; 1915. silent) D: James Read. No data found about this comedy short.

Major Del Conway of the Flying Tigers (television, 1951, 30m). No data found on this early, short-lived, half-hour tv series about a secret agent posing as a pilot for the Flying Tigers airline, but who leads a group of veterans from the WW2 AVG-Flying Tigers to combat evildoers. Actors were Eric Fleming, replaced early-on by Ed Peck, Bern Hoffman, Luis Van Rooten.
Malta Story (Great Britain; United Artists 1953, 98m) D: Brian Desmond Hurst. Alec Guinness = Lt Peter Ross, Jack Hawkins = Air C/O, Muriel Pavlow = Maria, Anthony Steele = Bartlett. Screenplay: Nigel Balchin, William Fairchild.

AIRCRAFT: Spitfire, Vickers Wellington.
Man in the Sky, The (Great Britain; Ealing 1957, 87m) D: Charles Crichton. Jeremy Bodkin = Nicholas Mitchell, Eddie Byrne = Ashmore, Jack Hawkins = John Mitchell, Donald Pleasance = Crabtree, Elizabeth Sellars = Mary Mitchell. Hawkins is effective as a test pilot giving his all to save a troubled craft for the boss and to protect his job future. Also shown as "Decision Against Time."
Man Trap, The (Bluebird Photoplays 1917, silent) D: Elmer Clifton. Non-aviation, crime drama is of interest in that both Waldo Waterman and his Waterman-Boeing Model C play a bit part.
Man Who Found Himself, The (RKO 1937, 67m) D: Lew Landers. John Beal = Jim Stanton, Billy Gilbert = hobo, Phillip Houston = Dick Miller, Joan Fontaine (first film appearance) = Doris King. Screenplay: G V Atwater, J R Bren, from a story by Alice Curtis, "Wings Of Mercy." Doctor drops out of practice after scandal, takes job as airplane mechanic. Little flying, but interesting background hangar shots.
Marines Fly High (RKO 1940, 68m) D: George Nichols Jr, Benjamin Stoloff. Lucille Ball = Joan Grant, Richard Dix = Lt Danny Darrick, Kirby Grant (as Robert Stanton) = Lt Bob Hobbes, Chester Morris = Lt Jim Malone. Screenplay: A J Bolton (as Boulton), Jerome Cady. Marine pilots fight bandits in the South American jungle while competing for the attention of a beautiful lady.
McConnell Story, The (Warner Bros 1955, 106m) D: Gordon Douglas. June Allyson = Pearl Brown, Alan Ladd = Joseph McConnell Jr, James Whitmore = Ty Whitman. Screenplay: Sam Rolfe. Bio of Korean ace McConnell; aka "Tiger in the Sky." CinemaScope. Maltin review: "Weepy yet effective fictional biography of jet test pilot, with Allyson as his understanding wife."

AIRCRAFT: F-80, F-84F, F-86.
Memphis Belle (Great Britain; Warner Bros 1990, 101m) D: Michael Caton-Jones. Reid Diamond = Virge, Tate Donovan = Luke, Matthew Modine = Dennis, Eric Stoltz = Danny, Billy Zane = Val Koslowski. Screenplay: Monte Merrick. Poor story line, nice aerial footage. Filmed at Duxford, England. Maltin review: "If you can make it through the first hour (a virtual catalogue of war-movie clichés) this film ultimately provides an exciting fictional reenactment of the famous B-17's final bombing raid over Germany during WW2. Still, it's hard to believe that such a cornball script could be concocted in 1990. Coproduced by Catherine Wyler, whose father made the 1944 documentary."

AIRCRAFT: B-17F/G, Me.109 (Spanish HA-1112) P-51D.

Trivia: (1) Final mission was to Wilhelmshaven, not Dresden. Memphis Bellesuffered no damage, none of the crew was injured, it had no trouble finding the target, and did not crash on landing. And none of the movie's crew names is similar to the names of her real-life crew. (2) The crew continually takes off gloves and oxygen masks at altitude. With OAT around 30 degrees below zero, their hands would stick to the guns and they would suffer frostbite almost immediately, not to mention passing out from lack of oxygen. (3) Set in May, a farmer is seen harvesting crops, normally done in late summer. (4) Shows P-51 Mustangs in May 1943, which was several months before they came to the ETO.

Trivia: The ball turret is seemingly blown away, leaving the gunner hanging out in the open, but on safely returning to England, the turret has suddenly reappeared. (-- Thomas Søerdalen)

Memphis Belle, The (documentary; USAF 1944, 42m) D: William Wyler. Vince Evans = himself, Arthur Kennedy = crewman, Robert Morgan = himself. Real-life coverage of the 25th and last mission of a B-17, "Memphis Belle," as it took part in a great bombing raid on sub pens in Wilhelmshafen, Germany. Some original footage was lost, and portions of the film are actually recreations shot over Santa Monica CA. One reviewer said: "These men were not heroes, nor were they warriors or even soldiers in the sense that we portray those things. They were employees of the Army Air Corps. They did a job, and did it only because the Boss told them to. Even if they hated it (and you get the sense that they did), they did it. That impression never leaves me. 'The Memphis Belle' requires no histrionics or flowery dialogue to be the greatest war movie ever made."

AIRCRAFT: Boeing B-17.
Men Against the Sky (RKO 1940, 75m) D: Leslie Goodwin. Richard Dix = Phil Mercedes, Kent Taylor = Martin Ames, Edmund Lowe = Dan McLean, Wendy Barrie = Kay (Mercedes) Green, Granville Bates = Burdett. Standard aircraft factory and test pilots story. Aerials by Paul Mantz. Filmed at Van Nuys CA.

AIRCRAFT: Fairchild 24W, Hughes H-1, Ryan ST, Stearman C-3, many mock-ups and models.
Men of the Fighting Lady (MGM 1954, 79m) D: Andrew Marton. Louis Calhern = James Mitchener, Van Johnson = Ltjg Howard Thayer, Frank Lovejoy = LtCdr Paul Grayson, Dewey Martin = Ens Kenneth Schechter, Walter Pidgeon = Cdr Kent Dowling, Keenan Wynn = LtCdr Ted Dodson. Screenplay: Art Cohn, from a story by James A Mitchener. Carrier action in Korean War, with much USN footage.
Men of the Sky (First National 1931, 71m) D: Alfred E Green. Irene Delroy = Madeline, Bramwell Fletcher = Eric, Frank McHugh, Jack Whiting = Jack Ames. Screenplay: Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach.
Men With Wings (Paramount 1938, 105m) D: William A Wellman (also producer). Walter Abel = Nick Ranson, Louise Campbell = Peggy Ranson, Frank Clark (not Clarke) = Burke, Andy Devine = Joe Gibbs, Porter Hall = Hiram Jenkins, Fred MacMurray = Pat Falconer, Ray Milland = Scott Barnes, Dennis Morgan (billed as Richard Stanley) = Galton, Donald O'Connor = Pat Falconer at age 10; uncredited: Joan Leslie = Patricia Falconer at age 11. Bit parts as pilots by Mantz and Tomick. Screenplay: Robert Carson. A marvelous and colorful capsule epic of flight, sadly never released for VHS/DVD because of reported ownership legal issues. Aerials by Frank Clarke, Paul Mantz (director), Jerry Phillips, Tex Rankin, Dick Rinaldi and others. Filmed at San Fernando Valley CA.

AIRCRAFT: Boeing 247D, Boeing P-12, modified Buhl Bull Pup, Curtiss JN-4, Fokker D.7, Garland Lincoln LF-1, Lockheed Vega, SPAD 7, Travel Air 2000/4000, others included a Whitehead replica flown on wires.

Mercy Plane (PRC 1940, 72m) D: Richard Harlan. James Dunn = Speed Leslie, Frances Gifford = Brenda Gordon, William Pawley = Jim Gordon. Screenplay: William Lively. Crime drama with incidental avaition. GB title: Wonder Plane (1939).
Midway (Universal 1976, 132m) D: Walter Mirisch. Charlton Heston = Capt Matt Garth, Henry Fonda = Adm Chester Nimitz, James Coburn = Capt Vinton Maddox, Glenn Ford = RAdm Raymond Spruance, Toshiro Mifune = Adm Yamamoto, Cliff Robertson = Cdr Carl Jessup. Screenplay: Donald S Sanford. Aerials by Frank Pine. Filmed on USS Lexington (CVT-16), plus footage from "Tora," "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," " Dive Bomber," "The Fighting Lady," et al.

AIRCRAFT: F4F, F6F, FM-2, modified SNJ, Japanese planes from "Tora."

Trivia: (1) Several shots identifying the American and Japanese carriers are actually those of post-war Essex-class carriers. (2) US carriers did not have angled flight decks until after the war. (3) The same '60s Forrestal-class carrier (with slant decks and full radar suites) is used as the Hiryuand Soryu,one of which is simply the same film flopped, including a backwards hull number painted on the flight deck. (4) Utility poles are visible in the scene of the Japanese carrier launching planes for the first attack on Midway. (5) In most shots of the flight deck looking up at attacking planes, anti-aircraft guns show the red paper caps of blanks, not pointed bullets. (6) US fighters taking off from Midway to repel Japanese attack are types not used on Midway at the time.
Miracle of Flight SEE Wunder des Fliegens
Mirage Noir (France; 199?) No data found.
Missing in MiG Alley (WGBH NOVA tv doc 2007, ) PBS feature with archival footage of aerial war in the skies of Korea.
Mission Over Korea (Columbia 1953, 85m) D: Fred F Sears. John Derek, John Hodiak = Capt George Slocum, Todd Karns = Lt Jerry Baker, Maureen O'Sullivan = Nancy Slocum, Audrey Totter.

Mosquito Squadron (Great Britain; United Artists 1970, 90m) D: Boris Segal. David Buck, David McCallum, Suzanne Neve. A British film reviewer: "Seemingly stitched together from stock footage of '633 Squadron' and 'Operation Crossbow,' a poor attempt to cash in on the former's success. Unconvincing, hackneyed script appallingly acted by actors who should have known better. Even the music attempts to mimic 'Battle of Britain,' and McCallum is allowed to keep his 'Ilya Kuryakin' haircut... fine for 1969, but not 1944! Its one saving grace is some original flying shots of that most beautiful aircraft, the Mosquito."

AIRCRAFT: DH Mosquito.
Murder in the Air (Warner Bros 1940, 55m) D: Lewis Seiler. Eddie Foy Jr = Gabby Waters, John Litel = Jim Saxby, Ronald Reagan = Brass Bancroft/Steve Coe. Screenplay: Raymond L Schrock. Fourth of an aerial Secret Service series. Bancroft foils a plot to board the USN dirigible 'Mason', which is testing the super secret Inertia Projector, and sabotage the airship.
Murder in the Clouds (Warner Bros 1934) D: Ross Lederman. Ann Dvorak = Judy Wagner, Tom Light = Tom Wagner, Lyle Talbot = Bob Halsey, Gordon Wescott = George. Screenplay: Roy Chanslor. Aerials by Howard Batt, Frank Clarke, Frank Tomick. Filmed at Big Bear Lake CA. Talbot is a hotshot pilot for TransAmerica Lines, and his lady love is Dvorak, a stewardess for the airlines, whose brother also flies for the line. They are involved in a secret mission to fly a scientist with a new high explosive mixture to Washington and must contend with foreign agents.

AIRCRAFT: Ford Tri-motor, Travel Air Speedwing.
Murphy's War (United Artists 1971, 108m) D: Peter Yates. Horst Janson = Cdr Lauchs, Peter O'Toole = Murphy, Sian Phillips = Dr Hayden. Screenplay: Sterling Silliphant, from a novel by Max Catto. Minor flying footage of Murphy trying to get a Duck off the water is itself worth the price of admission. Aerials by Frank Tallman.

AIRCRAFT: Grumman JF-2.
Mysterious Airman, The (serial; Artclass 1928, silent) D: Harry Revier. Eugenia Gilbert, Walter Miller. Screenplay: Arthur B Reeve. 10 episodes.
Mysterious Doctor Satan (serial; Republic 1940, 267m) D: John English, William Witney. Eduardo Ciannelli = Doctor Satan, Robert Wilcox = Bob Wayne/"The Copperhead", Ella Neal = Lois Scott, C Montague Shaw = Prof Thomas Scott, William Newell = Speed Martin. Screenplay: Frank Adreon, Ronald Davidson. 15 episodes. Aerial director Al Wilson. Extent of flying scenes is unknown, but plot outline tells of mad scientist Ciannelli, who plots to conquer America by stealing key pieces of a technolgy to build an army of robots based on his prototype, and the only one standing in his way is a masked flyer known only as The Copperhead. When this serial was first written it was intended to be a series with Superman as the hero, but Superman's owners decided they didn't want to let the studio use the character. Instead of scrapping the project, the writers replaced Superman with a character of their own creation, The Copperhead. Edited and re-released in 1966 as a 100m tv movie, Doctor Satan's Robots.

AIRCRAFT: Ryan ST, Stinson Reliant.
Mysterious Pilot, The (serial; Columbia 1937) D: Spencer Gordon Bennett. Yakima Canutt = Luke, Kenneth Harlan = Snowden, Frank Hawks = Jim Dorn, Rex Lease = Kansas, Dorothy Sebastian = Jean McNain. Screenplay: L Ron Hubbard. 15 episodes which our hero, Hawks, helps hide Sebastian from a man she can implicate in a murder.
Mystery Pilot (Rayart 1926, silent) Rex Lease, Kathryn McGuire, Harry Moody. No data found.
Mystery Plane (Monogram 1939, 60m) D: George Wagner. Marjorie Reynolds = Betty Lou, Jason Robards Sr = Paul Smith, Milburn ("Gunsmoke") Stone = Skeeter Milligan, John Trent = Tailspin Tommy. Screenplay: Paul Schofield, Wagner, based on a newspaper comic-strip by Hal Forrest. Sky Patrol serial re-edited as a feature; interesting in that it presents the childhood of Tommy and Betty Lou.
Mystery Squadron (serial, Mascot 1938, 225m) D: Colbert Clark, David Howard. Bob Steele = Fred Cromwell, Lucille Brown = Dorothy Gray, Jack Mulhall = Hank Davis, J Carroll Naish = Collins, Guinn Williams = Bill Cook. Screenplay: Clark, Wyndham Gittens. 12 chapters. Davis, foreman on a huge dam project, enlists the aid of two flyer friends when a sinister figure known as "The Black Ace" leads his Mystery Squadron of masked pilots in an attempt to destroy the dam.