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Howard Hawks' 1943 "Air Force" to close BYU film archive series May 31

The Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University will host a free screening of the movie “Air Force,” directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Garfield, Friday, May 31, at 7 p.m. in the library auditorium on the first level.

“Air Force”concludes the 14th season of the BYU Motion Picture Archive Film Series. Admission is free and early arrival is encouraged because seating is limited. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and children age 8 and older are welcome. No food or drink is permitted in the auditorium.  

In the months following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Warner Bros sought to produce a feature film-response by calling on top director Howard Hawks (“The Dawn Patrol,” “Only Angels Have Wings,” “Sergeant York”) to helm a dramatization of a flight of B-17 “Flying Fortress” bombers across the battle-torn South Pacific. “Air Force”is based on the true story of the formation of 12 Army Air Corps bombers that flew directly into the Dec. 7 attack.

Released in early 1943, “‘Air Force’was not a stereotypical World War II action film,” said James D’Arc, curator of the Motion Picture Archive.

“Hawks purposely cast non-stars in the key roles of the crew of a sole B-17s uniting under the pressure of battle to operate as a team,” he said.  “John Garfield, then an up-and-coming talent at Warner Bros, was the only nominal ‘star’ of ‘Air Force.’”

Film critic Robin Wood hailed “Air Force”and argued that it was considered a “permanent classic of the American cinema.”

For more information, contact James D'Arc at james_darc@byu.edu.

Writer: Hwa Lee

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