Task Force / A Special 4th of July Screening!

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This gripping action adventure from Hollywood’s Golden Age expertly weaves drama with documentary to trace the history of naval aviation and the development of the aircraft carrier, superbly capturing both the human story and the real, harrowing experience of war. Told in flashback, Task Force stars legendary Oscar-winner Gary Cooper (High Noon) in a wide-ranging performance taking him from brash young aviator to commander of an aircraft carrier. Also on deck are fellow Oscar-winner Walter Brennan (Rio Bravo) as a crusty, veteran Navy sea dog and Jane Wyatt (Gentleman’s Agreement) as Cooper’s valiant, resourceful wife. The movie’s other star attraction is actual World War II combat footage (shot in full color and mixed into the otherwise black-and-white film) that puts viewers in the middle of the chaos of a carrier deck strewn with flaming wrecks or the nail-biting tension of a ship’s radar room. The effect is gut-wrenching, fueled by unforgettably astonishing images of battle, juxtaposed with the moving story of one man’s patriotic devotion to his country and to his family. (Dir. by Delmer Daves, 1949, USA, 116 mins., Not Rated) Digital