Captains of the Clouds is the 1942 war film starring James Cagney. Brian MacLean is a Canadian bush pilot who steals jobs and flies recklessly. He goes so far as to steal fellow pilot Johnny’s girlfriend Emily. He and his friends decide to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and fight in WWII. However, they are too old for combat and become instructors instead. MacLean gets dishonorably discharged after his reckless ways hurt people. Brian gets one last chance for redemption when he sneaks in for a volunteer mission. Can he finally do the right thing?
While Brian fails in most of the movie, he can be so insufferable that the viewer may get a perverse joy in seeing him get in trouble. The visuals are a little blunt, as we see so many military posters encouraging people to join up. To be fair, this film was meant to be wartime propaganda, so it’s not there just for its own sake. James Cagney proves once again that he can do other roles. The story is decent and Brian does redeem himself in the end. Honolulu war film fans should rent it first.
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