I knew there was a reason I never forgot this movie viewed as a kid in '70. Recommendation engine sorted out serious, touching, atmospheric and psychological films with plots about death, hopes, ghost, redemption, family relations, afterlife and mother son relationship mostly in Drama, Fantasy and Biography genres. When Devlin returns to his tent the ghosts of the crew make their appearance to Hamner, leading him to flee in panic across the desert in a jeep. They were located 80 miles north of the crash site indicating that they had walked about 60 miles after landing. He joins an investigation team that has come across the wreckage, while the ghosts, headed by Major Devlin Vince Edwards , plot to expose Hamner as a coward who deserted his post and left his crew mates to die. In 1960, the ruins of an American bomber were found in the Libyan desert.
The General claims that he and the other members of the crew jumped over the ocean when in reality he bailed out leaving the others to fend for themselves. As a pre-adolescent I found that one slightly disturbing psychologically, but mostly… oh, Susannah! In Guerdon Trueblood's teleplay, the ghosts of a bomber crew hang around their derelict plane, awaiting the day that their bones will be recovered and given a decent burial. A chilling scene follows as Hamner climbs back into his old seat to remember and the ghosts of the five men he survived crowd around to watch. It is basically an hour and a half episode of The Twilight Zone, but in color. Three of the others continued further north. Is this a straightforward investigation case, only with ghosts? This is fine story-telling, an amazing and involving movie which holds your interest to its emotional outcome. I should've just gone into the military myself.
Then we hear a progression of machine gun fire, radio chatter and jazz music, as if the Home Run itself is waking up and remembering what happened to it. And while the Colonel just wants the whole thing closed, the Major insists on finding the truth. When a bomber believed to have crashed in the ocean 17 years ago is found in the Libyan desert, a Colonel and Major accompany the only surviving member of the crew, who is now a General to figure out what happened. The sole survivor, navigator Russell Hamner Richard Basehart , has in the intervening 25 years become a General. Thank you, Rick Armstrong and for prompting me to get round to this one. The sixth and only missing member of the crew is Russ Hamner, who is far from a ghost and far from Libya. And watching them are the ghosts of the crew.
However, the plane is haunted by the unseen ghosts of the former crew members who intend to prove to the investigators what really happened. Sure enough, the next thing we see is a human being, one of five who are using the plane as shelter. I am sure it is in some vault somewhere. A British horror writer, James Herbert, wrote a novel in 1976 called The Survivor, which introduced a supernatural angle to his work. And this is paid off beautifully in the open-ended and poignant ending.
Ah, I love Hardy Kruger in Phoenix. And watching them are the ghosts of the crew. My first wife was a big Star Trek fan. Harold Ripslinger managed to walk a total of 200 miles from the crash site. Like the characters in the film, Sole Survivor seems to be stuck in a void; forgotten by those who left it there to die.
Richard Basehart convincingly coming apart as the flawed general. . Accompanying them is Richard Basehart, the sole surviving crew member from the crashed bomber, whose account of the flight, and of his own survival, is now called into question - he claims the Captain gave the order to bail out, and he obeyed this order. But then, it's a fine cast and I agree that it's one of William Shatner's best performance. Inspired by the discovery of an almost intact B-24 in Libya in 1954 by an oil exploration team who discovered both it and the remains of the crew with the plane.
Its machine guns and radio were also still in working order. This was fiction based on the Lady Be Good, the bodies of whose crew had coincidentally been found only a couple of weeks before the episode aired; a grave marker in the episode deliberately carries the date the Lady Be Good was lost. The tension ratchets up without any blatant intrusive music or spooky special effects till the highly satisfying end. When I first saw this, it looked like a vintage war movie, filmed in traditional black-and-white, almost with a Twilight Zone type aura to it. Fearing disciplinary action and the end of his military career should the truth of his cowardice be found out, he tries to convince Gronke and Devlin that the entire crew bailed out over the Mediterranean with him and that the pilotless plane somehow flew on by itself. MacDonald, played by Patrick Wayne, lines all his men up for inspection and he smartly salutes the investigator who walks towards them. And while the Colonel just wants the whole thing closed, the Major insists on finding the truth.
No cheesy effects, either: the living men who can't see the ghosts don't walk through them, but simply don't ever get face to face with them, which resonates rather nicely with the theme. And while the Colonel just wants the whole thing closed, the Major insists on finding the truth. Followed by the investigators, the chase ends with them arriving at the scene of an abandoned life raft the crew having abandoned the plane in the darkness and convinced they were still over open water , revealing to the entire team what Hamner has already admitted to Devlin. Based on your thoughtful review, I think I'll enjoy it very much. This fascinating process is almost a thematic extension of the film, a pleasing serendipity that is perhaps more interesting than the production itself. He joins an investigation team that has come across the wreckage, while the ghosts, headed by Major Devlin Vince Edwards , plot to expose Hamner as a coward who deserted his post and left his crew mates to die. I don't think I've watched The Savage Bees, but anything tagged Guerdon Trueblood must be worth a look.