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Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (1973)

PG | | Drama | 1 April 1973 (USA)
Story of a 1920s stunt flyer and the son he takes on the road with him.

Director:

John Erman (as Bill Sampson)

Writers:

Claudia Salter (screenplay) (as Chips Rosen), Steven Spielberg (story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cliff Robertson ... Ace Eli Walford
Eric Shea ... Rodger Walford
Pamela Franklin ... Shelby
Rosemary Murphy ... Hannah
Bernadette Peters ... Allison
Alice Ghostley ... Sister Lite
Kelly Jean Peters ... Rachel
Don Keefer ... Mr. Parsons
Patricia Smith ... Mrs. Wilma Walford
Royal Dano ... Jake
Robert Hamm Robert Hamm ... Dumb Dickie
Herb Gatlin Herb Gatlin ... Frank Savage
Arthur Malet ... Brother Watson
Ariana Chase Ariana Chase ... Betty Jo (as Ariane Munker)
Hope Summers ... Laura
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Storyline

Story of a 1920s stunt flyer and the son he takes on the road with him.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of Ace Eli... when planes were young and the world was innocent... except for Ace's son Rodger... Rodger of the Skies.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 April 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los ases del cielo See more »

Filming Locations:

Mount Hope, Kansas, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Heavily re edited by the studio to be a feel good movie. Originally had a downbeat ending. See more »

Goofs

As Eli flies over Shelby's party, the view from the ground shows the plane banking to the left, but the view from the plane of the ground shows it is banking to the right. See more »

Quotes

Rodger Walford: Essentially, it all comes down to this: flying an aeroplane is like loving a woman.
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Soundtracks

Who's For Complainin'?
Written and Performed by Jim Grady
Produced by John Madara
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User Reviews

 
A Bad Idea
9 October 2007 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

The best thing that can be said about "Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies" (1973) is that its lame title accurately reflects the quality of the film. If a period piece about a WWI flyer adjusting to civilian life as a barnstormer is what you are looking for, I suggest "The Great Waldo Pepper" (1975). Both films are relatively high budget with professional production design, but "Waldo" has better flying scenes and a far more engaging story.

What Eli has is Pamela Franklin ("The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie") and amazingly that is almost enough to make it worth watching. Actually it is a must see for all her fans but they already know that.

Cliff Robertson is sadly miscast as the Ace Eli character and this decision saps the energy out of pretty much every scene in the film. The kid from "The Poseidon Adventure" plays Rodger (Ace Eli's 11-year old son). He also played opposite Robertson in the "Come back Shame" episode of "Batman", this kid is no Dakota Fanning so don't get your expectations up too high.

For those too young to remember, from the late 1960's until the late1970's Hollywood catered to the counterculture baby boomer market. This followed the success of "Easy Rider" and "Bonnie and Clyde", films that succeeded because they broke a lot of Hollywood conventions. Pretty soon almost all films were breaking Hollywood conventions, unfortunately they were the same conventions being broken in the same way; making them just a new set of conventions. These included mandatory scenes of a man in bed with a woman and the inclusion for no particular reason of a few assorted political subtexts.

This was not a big deal when confined to contemporary stories but this stuff soon got incorporated into revisionist films about historical events and characters. "Ace Eli" is one of these, joining (but not as good as) stuff like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "Little Big Man", and "The Great White Hope".

Buried somewhere in "Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies" are coming of age story elements and maybe even a couple of themes; but I just watched the whole thing and can't even begin to identify what they were actually trying to communicate. Blame the writer, the director, the editor, or all of the above. Then maybe blame a bunch of Hollywood types who thought it might be a good idea to explore the mysteries of 1970's female discontent in a 1920's setting. What should have been clear in pre- production is that spicing up a family film will not attract teenage and adult viewers, but it will make the thing too risqué for family viewing. And they wonder why these things lose money.

If you check the credits you will see that "Ace" is based on a story by Steven Spielberg. If you watch the film you will understand why Spielberg is best known as a director and not as a writer.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


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