Jet Pilot | Chicago Reader

Jet Pilot

Josef von Sternberg opts for a broad, preposterous comic-book style in this piece of cold-war hysteria (1957), which completely undermines the Neanderthal intentions of the film's producer, Howard Hughes. Janet Leigh is a busty Russian spy pilot, shot down over the U.S. (her flying suit striptease, punctuated by the roar of offscreen jet engines, is unforgettably outrageous); John Wayne is the American officer who captures and eventually marries her. Their honeymoon includes a faked defection to the USSR, which turns out to be a broken-down boys camp ruled by Commissar Hans Conried. It was Sternberg's only work in color, and for all its silliness it remains fluid, elegant filmmaking. 112 min.

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