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'The Fighting Lady' directed by William Wyler, provides a portrait of life on a World War II aircraft carrier, a vessel that is enormous, wonderful and strange to us. After profiling the various activities of the soldiers' day and following the ship's voyage through the Panama Canal, the film takes the audience through a litany of actual combat
The Fighting Lady participates in a strike on the Marcus
Islands, then defends itself against a surprise nighttime raid by Japanese fighters. Some of the photography comes from cameras set up in the cockpits of American planes, showing first hand what it's like to be diving through enemy anti-aircraft fire. The film culminates in a major
confrontation with the Imperial Japanese Battle Fleet. In this massive operation, later dubbed the 'Marianas Turkey Shoot' American pilots downed almost four hundred Japanese Zeros, while incurring only twenty-two losses themselves.
Shot in Kodachrome, this film depicts life onboard an Essex class carrier during WWII. Though not named in the film, most of the footage was shot onboard the USS Yorktown. The Fighting Lady highlights the saying that war is 99 per cent boredom followed by 1 per cent of sheer terror. We see footage of everyday life aboard the ship: from sailors stuck on KP duty to the aircrews responsible for arming and fueling planes to the pilots who manned them. At the end of the film we find out that some of the people depicted were KIA or MIA. I think that would have made more of an impact had they actually interviewed these people and create a relationship with the viewer rather than simply including them in the narration. I believe documentaries like this were created for presentations to workers in the factories (Grumman in this case) so that people who built the aircraft and material of war could see the end product of their efforts in action and making a difference in the war.
A pretty good film that won the Best Documentary Oscar in 1945.
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