Sunday, September 23, 2012

Red Tails (2012)

This is a solid movie based on true events. In 1944, after enduring racism throughout their recruitment and training in the Tuskegee training program, young African American USAAF fighter pilots are finally sent into combat in Italy, flying worn-out Curtiss P-40 Warhawk aircraft and assigned to simple jobs shooting trains and enemy ground transport. Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) convinces the military bureaucracy to allow his fighters to escort the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, but only on the condition that his unit be supplied with the new North American P-51 Mustangs.

In researching the film, Lucasfilm invited some of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen to Skywalker Ranch, where they were interviewed about their experiences during World War II. While shooting in the Czech Republic, the actors underwent a boot camp program, during which they lived in similar conditions to the actual Tuskegee Airmen. In order to achieve a realistic reaction, actors were flown in actual P-51 Mustangs at the Planes of Fame in Chino, California, to experience the forces involved in dogfighting. In April 2009, Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Lee A. Archer Jr. was hired as an advisor. He died in 2010 while the film was in post-production and the final credits bear a tribute to him.

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