Monday, January 29, 2024

Movie Monday: Ladies Courageous

Movie Monday: Ladies Courageous

When I’m researching an era, I immerse myself in the media that would have been available to my characters at the time. For my Old West books, I read novels, newspapers, magazines, and catalogs that were published before or during the year my stories are set. For my WWII books, I can expand my media to include movies and radio programs.

During my research for Love at First Flight, I stumbled on a 1944 war movie called Ladies Courageous, a fictionalized account of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron (that would later be merged with the Women’s Flying Training Detachment to create the Women Air Service Pilots program. According to several sources, the film is based on Virginia Spencer Cowles’s 1941 novel Looking for Trouble. However, the WAFS didn’t go into operation until 1942. Other sources indicate the film is an á-clef story (a name describing a real person behind the façade of fiction) of Jacqueline Cochran and Nancy Harkness Love, the women behind the two organizations.

Born in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1910l, Virginia’s journalism career began as a gossip columnist for
Public Domain
Boston and New York newspapers. She expanded into fashion and society, but when the Spanish Civil War began to bubble up, she packed her bags and headed for Spain in 1937, determined to make it as a war correspondent.

Different from most reporters covering the Civil War such as Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gelhorn, Virginia wrote articles from both sides for the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, and Hearst newspapers, including an interview with Pepe Quintanilla, the chief executioner of Madrid. She eventually left Spain and traversed Europe, moving between Russia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Finland, and France. After the fall of France, she went to England where she landed on the first day of The Blitz, allowing her to report the entire Battle of Britain. She later covered the North African Campaign, then Italy and France in 1944 and 1945.

Ladies Courageous
stars Loretta Young, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Diana Barrymore (yes, those Barrymores) and tells the story of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron. The plot seems more “Hollywood” than war propaganda with impetuous female characters, dashing male pilots, and intrigue. Toward the end of the movie, a general notifies the women about the merge that will create the WASPs, an event that didn’t occur until July, 1943. The dialogue is good, and the plot moved along at a good pace. It was interesting to watch the film thinking about people in the 1940s for whom commercial air travel would have been a luxury, let alone the opportunity to take flying lessons. Might be similar to us thinking about going to the moon.


Love at First Flight

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love?

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training...the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancé, Jasper MacPherson.

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.

Purchase Link:

No comments:

Post a Comment