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A Guy Named Joe (1943)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, War | March 1944 (USA)
A dead World War II bomber pilot named Pete Sandidge, becomes the guardian angel of another pilot, Ted Randall. He guides Ted through battle and helping him to romance his old girlfriend, despite her excessive devotion to Sandidge's memory.

Director:

Victor Fleming

Writers:

Chandler Sprague (story), David Boehm (story) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... Pete Sandidge
Irene Dunne ... Dorinda Durston
Van Johnson ... Ted Randall
Ward Bond ... Al Yackey
James Gleason ... 'Nails' Kilpatrick
Lionel Barrymore ... The General
Barry Nelson ... Dick Rumney
Esther Williams ... Ellen Bright
Henry O'Neill ... Col. Sykes
Don DeFore ... James J. Rourke (as Don De Fore)
Charles Smith ... Sanderson
Addison Richards ... Maj. Corbett
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Storyline

Maj. Pete Sandidge is a very able pilot who seems to have a streak of luck as far as flying goes. World War II is raging and Pete has come out of it pretty so far. He even has a beautiful girlfriend Dorinda Durston, herself a qualified pilot who ferries aircraft to different bases. When Pete is killed however, he finds himself in heaven and learns that every pilot has a guardian angel. He returns to Earth where, unseen by anyone, he coaches a pilot-in-training Ted Randall. Ted is a pretty good kid and is coming along nicely but when he's shipped to New Guinea he runs into Dorinda who has remained faithful to her lost love. As Ted pursues her, Pete will have to decide what he wants to do about it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A GUY - A GAL - A PAL - It's Swell!

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Fantasy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Guy Named Joe See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,627,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Van Johnson was critically injured in an automobile accident on 31 March 1943 and MGM was set to replace him, reportedly with either John Hodiak or Peter Lawford, but Spencer Tracy insisted that they shoot around him during his convalescence. Johnson didn't return to work until the first week in July of 1943, more than three months later. See more »

Goofs

No USAAF B-25 units were ever assigned to the United Kingdom during World War II. See more »

Quotes

The General: No man is really dead unless he breaks faith with the future, and no man is really alive unless he accepts his responsibility to it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in MGM Parade: Episode #1.9 (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Fight On
(1922) (uncredited)
(USC's Official Fight Song)
Music by Milo Sweet
Lyrics by Milo Sweet and Glen Grant
Sung a cappella by Don DeFore
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sweet film about the immortality of love
25 April 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"A Guy Named Joe" is a beautiful, sentimental, tear-jerker of a film starring Spencer Tracy, Irene Dunne, Van Johnson, Lionel Barrymore, Ward Bond, James Gleason, and Dom Defore. Tracy is Pete, a fighter pilot in World War II involved with Dorinda (Dunne), a female flier. Apparently pilots whose "number is up" emit some kind of dead man walking spirit, because Dunne recognizes the signs and wants Pete to return to the states with her and teach fledgling pilots. She's so desperate that he agrees, but he's called for one last mission, and the inevitable happens. Before he knows it, no one can see him or hear him, he's escorted around heaven and earth by Barry Nelson, and assigned to be an angel for a young pilot (Johnson).

For all the warmth of this film, it was fraught with problems behind the scenes. Van Johnson was in a horrid car accident before he finished filming. The actors said they wanted to wait for him rather than see him replaced. That story may or may not be true, as the scar on his forehead is only visible in a couple of scenes; there can't have been much left to film. The second problem was that Spencer Tracy kept coming on to Irene Dunne, which made her furious, and she complained to the front office. She never worked with him again, which is a pity, because they made a charismatic screen couple.

Spencer Tracy is fantastic as a cocky pilot who comes down to earth only when he dies. His scenes as he stands behind Dunne telling her what he should have said to her while alive are very tender. Dunne is excellent as always - strong yet vulnerable, and she gets to sing "I'll Get By" in her lovely soprano. Johnson, in his breakthrough role, is good-looking, boyish, and likable. One of the nicest thing about "A Guy Named Joe" is some of the lighting effects - the silhouette of Dunne as she says goodbye to Pete; the look of his plane in the distance when she first arrives - these really add to the sense of foreboding.

Strangely, when viewed today, "A Guy Named Joe" is a feminist movie in more ways than even it knew. Dunne is a female pilot and proves her mettle in a dangerous mission. But more than that, consider the fact that she becomes involved with Johnson in the film and was 18 years his senior! She was 45 when this movie was released, and Johnson was 29. The age difference is obvious. Good for her - playing a lead at that age while employed by Louis B, no less, and having a younger love interest! Mayer is the man who booted out Joan Crawford and didn't make any noise when Garbo and Shearer left.

If your eyes aren't moist at the end of "A Guy Named Joe," it'll be surprising. Much loved by Steven Spielberg (who remade it), and a lot of other people, it still touches the heart today and reinforced to wartime audiences that the spirit of their deceased ones continues on, with love the tie that binds.


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