Cheap Date

One advantage of living in a retirement community is the amount of activities that are available. Yesterday evening, Peggy and I went to the movies at the Stardust Theater on the corner of Stardust Boulevard and R.H. Johnson Boulevard. The film being shown “The Court Martial Of Billy Mitchell” is from 1955. I was a Junior in High School when it came out. I never saw it then, but I am glad I got to see it now. There is a line-up of major stars in this film, most of which you young uns will not recognize like Gary Cooper, Ralph Belamy, Jack Lord, Elizabeth Montgomery, Gavin McLeod, Rod Steiger, Jack Clark, and directed by Otto Preminger. All of them were un-recognizably young, but today they are all dead.


The story is about the life of William “Billy” Mitchell who served in the army before there was an air force. He had an amazing vision for how air power would be used to win wars.

I read a few articles about his life and have decided that this film could be classified as a documentary. It follows his career and life that closely. At the beginning of the film, I thought the acting a bit amateurish, but as it progressed the acting became more convincing. Having lived my life with a passion for airplanes I had trouble visualizing a time when the US Military did not recognize airplanes as an implement of war. More specifically, a pig headed navy would not believe a ship could be sunk by an airplane.


Billy Mitchell wrote many letters to his superiors with recommendations for what he thought the military should do. After serving a stint in Hawaii he outlined how the island was vulnerable. They read his letter into the record at his court-martial as a way to humiliate him. The attack he described was exactly what happened at Pearl Harbor. Hi made this prediction nineteen years before WWII. When asked which country would use this plan he answered “Japan.” In retrospect, his description of the way Pearl Harbor could be taken was so accurate I believe the Japanese managed to steal it from our country.

The movie cost us two bucks apiece to see, and we are still talking about it today. This will be a regular Thursday night activity from now on.

2 Responses

  1. Now that you’ve seen the whole thing, and researched it enough to call it a pseudo-documentary, maybe if you watched it again the beginning would have a different impression on you. Maybe it just took you awhile to “get in the groove” of the movie.

    I too am a fan of the history of the WW2 War in the Pacific. The movies “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970) and “Midway” (1976), and the book and film (below) “Guadalcanal Diary” (1943) really piqued my interest as a kid. I could watch/read them over & over, even as an elementary school kid.

    – Jeff

    • Thanks for the trailer. I think I’ll set a goal to watch old WWII movies. I’ve seen a bunch of them, but could watch them again.By the way, If you are in Phoenix within the next thirty days maybe we could hook up for a hotdog.

Comments are closed.

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