The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell Overview:

The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955) was a Drama - Drama Film directed by Otto Preminger and produced by Milton Sperling.


A courtroom drama from master of legal fireworks Preminger based on the true story of an American general court-martialed for accusing the military of negligence. In the wake of WWI, General Billy Mitchell considered the military's failure to build the Air Force as akin to treason. In the trial that followed, he predicted a situation not unlike the bombing of Pearl Harbor that occurred two decades later.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


Academy Awards 1955 --- Ceremony Number 28 (source: AMPAS)

Best WritingMilton Sperling, Emmet LaveryNominated

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Quotes from

Admiral William S. Sims: Just because you read a lot of books about golf, doesn't make you a good golfer.

Admiral William S. Sims: The Navy hasn't got any policy on flying, they are ignoring the aeroplane in hopes that it will just go away.

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Facts about

Film debut of Jack Lord.
Although he had said long ago that he would make no more biopics, he signed for The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell. It was a poor Otto Preminger film and even Billy Mitchell's widow expressed disappointment with Cooper's performance. Possibly the story had appealed to Cooper on political grounds and Mitchell may have been a hero of his - the general who accused the government of neglecting military needs. Cooper went on Ed Sullivan's TV show to promote the film and home viewers were quite disappointed - David Shipman referred to Cooper's "effeminate mannerisms in his TV interviews".
The Mitchell family was very unhappy with the film, especially the casting of the tall, laconic Gary Cooper in the lead role. The real Billy Mitchell was short with an explosive temper. The family thought James Cagney would have been ideal.
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Best Writing Oscar 1955

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