What with the banter among the air crew and some incredibly stupid Nazis, this journey was less desperate than entertaining.
An RAF bomber crew led by Flight Lt. Terry Forbes (Errol Flynn) is sent on a mission over Germany to finish off a sabotage job done by a Polish guerilla on some rail lines. After completing its run, the plane is shot down and the crew is captured. American bombarder Johnny Hammond (Ronald Reagan) easily overpowers SS Major Otto Baumeister (Raymond Massey) while he is being politely interrogated for top secret info on the bomber. The other members of the crew are allowed to stroll into Baumeister’s office and steal German secrets over the bodies of three vanquished Nazis before departing through the window.
The rest of the movie is devoted to the crew’s escape overland from the desperate Baumeister. Fortunately for them, Terry speaks fluent German (with a horrible Australian accent that however is the equal of the American-accented German spoken by the Nazis. Happily for the audience, Baumeister is constantly shouting to his underlings – SPEAK ENGLISH!) and the crew is able to travel disguised in German army uniforms acquired from the many guards they subdue. Will they make it to safety in England with the plans? Not before destroying an incendiary bomb factory that’s for sure. With Alan Hale as an overage veteran of WWI and Arthur Kennedy as a practical former accountant who just wants to quickly elude the Nazis so he can resume winning the war and get back to his bookkeeping.
This movie is a hoot and, if approached in the right spirit, totally enjoyable.
Desperate Journey was Oscar Nominated for Best Effects, Special Effects.
Clip – Raymond Massey tries to “do business” with Ronald Reagan – this is a must see!