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Karl Malden plays an air force sergeant who is tempted by a better-paying civilian job. Malden's daughter Natalie Wood is in love with a young colonel (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) whom her father regards as an insolent hothead. The younger man proves his worth during jet maneuvers, while Malden decides that he's of more value in the service than as a working stiff. Bombers B-52 has some excellent moments, including a well-staged variation of the obligatory "breaking the news to the pilot's widow" scene. The film earned latter-day ...

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Mar 15, 2012

The Immortal Buf

The chemistry between Zimbalist and Wood is a little weak in the 1950s movie. Malden is just fine but my own Air Force experience makes me view the enmity between Malden's and Zimbalist's characters as an obvious plot complication rather than a realistic interaction between a Colonel And a Master Sergeant. The real stars of the film are the aircraft. Some of the shots are of static aircraft or planes being towed by an off-camera tug. The B-52 Buf (Big Ugly F-er) is usually shown on the ground under maintenance. But the flying sequences show that there was really nothing ugly about this super-plane which is still operational after 60 years in the forefront of USAF weaponry (though they no longer carry nukes I believe). But I can't help crying out as Malden fights the equipment rack fire with an extinguisher in the film's exciting climax ,"Trip the circuit breakers to isolate the fire!"

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