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"Exhibitionism isn't tolerated in this school."
slymusic4 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
With a screenplay by Delmer Daves, "Young America Flies" is a pleasant, enjoyable short film regarding civilian aviation training at Stanford University. The film focuses on four students with very different personalities and goals. Jim (Herbert Anderson, uncredited) is a friendly, willing student hoping to gain a seat in the U.S. Air Force. Bill (William Lundigan) is also a very serious, hardworking student, hoping to be a commercial pilot along with his lovely fiancée Jane (Jean Parker). Jack (William Orr) is like many young people we've met: a brash, cocky know-it-all who feels that the rules do not apply to him. Their flight instructor (Donald Woods) is a very likable man who can be a tough taskmaster but who has complete confidence in his students.

My favorite sequences in this short occur about halfway through when the students take their very first solo flights, as well as during the last couple of minutes when they take their final flight tests in front of a civil aeronautics inspector (Frank Wilcox). In both of these scenes, while each student is up in the air, all the other students somewhat nervously watch from below, reacting favorably when a student performs well, and even finding time to trade witty lines with their superiors.

"Young America Flies" is a fine two-reeler short, but I have to admit that I believe it might be misleading in one respect. I imagine that in real life, flight instructors and civil aeronautics inspectors are not as easygoing as the ones we see in this film.
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Not exactly WINGS . . .
oscaralbert27 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
. . . the endless WWI saga which won the initial Oscar as "Best Picture," but that's understandable because this live action short seems intended mostly as a Public Service Announcement to help America produce the thousands of pilots that would be necessary to win WWII. Unfortunately, it may have been somewhat counter-productive, as the story line is bogged down with too much "comic relief" in the person of "Jack Hendricks" (William Orr), the lone washout among the featured quartet of student pilots. While Jack may have been perfect for WING's infamous "bubbles scene," he's an unwanted "loose cannon" in "Serious Times Like These." The undisputed best flier of the bunch incongruously is portrayed as a total airhead, incapable of squelching any quip which pops into his head at inopportune moments, or following any of the rules and protocols even paper airplane dilettantes would be expected to observe. With WWII inevitable, Jack just wants to fly to expand his stable of lovers from Mexico to Canada. Shame on him.
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