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Flying Leathernecks Overview:

Flying Leathernecks (1951) was a Drama - War Film directed by Nicholas Ray and produced by Edmund Grainger.

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The film utilized actual color aerial battle footage. According to the book "Brassey's Guide to War Films", this movie utilized combat footage from newsreels of the Korean War the Korean War was fought in its entirety between 1950-1953 but the footage would be circa 1950-1951 due to the production dates of the film. Yet this is a World War II movie about the Battle of Guadalcanal which predates the Korean War.
Even though this film is in color, the RKO Studio's film logo seen at the beginning of the movie is in black-and-white.
John Wayne's character in this movie, Major Daniel Xavier Kirby, was based on Captain John Lucien Smith, USMC Ace who was Commanding Officer in the Marine Fighting Squadron 223 at Guadalcanal in 1942 during World War II. Smith was a Medal of Honor recipient in 1943 and a leader of the "Cactus" Air Force. Smith, a wildcat fighter pilot, shot down nineteen Japanese airplanes over Guadalcanal in 1942. Smith's achievements and commendations were well known to the public prior to this film being made. Smith was eventually promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and likewise, Wayne's Kirby character is also promoted to the same rank in this movie. Moreover, there is also a physical likeness and resemblance between Wayne and Smith.
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Also directed by Nicholas Ray




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Also produced by Edmund Grainger




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Also released in 1951




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