Jet Pilot is a 1957 Cold War romantic comedy film starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh. Written by Jules Furthman, the movie went through several directorial changes. Josef von Sternberg directed between December 1949 and February 1950, after that Jules Furthman, Philip Cochran (second unit director), Ed Killy (assistant), Byron Haskin (for the model work), and Don Siegel also directed scenes (Siegel's weren't used).
The last day of shooting was in May 1953, but was kept out of release by Howard Hughes' tinkering (something he was notorious for) until October 1957, by which time Hughes had sold RKO. Universal ended up distributing Jet Pilot.
Though the film was publicised as showcasing the U.S. Air Force's latest jets, by the time it was finally shown most of the aircraft in the film were obsolete and had been supplanted by more modern aircraft. In one aerial scene, the two lead characters fly a F-94 Starfire to test a radar approach to intercept a propeller driven B-36 bomber.
When they return from their unauthorized honeymoon, Major General Black (Jay C. Flippen) takes Jim aside and informs him that his new wife is a spy, sent to send information back to the USSR. The Americans decide to play along, and escalate the situation.
Shannon goes home to tell Anna that she is to be imprisoned for years, then deported when she is finally released. To save her, they hatch an escape plan, steal a plane and fly to Soviet airspace. Their arrival is not shown, but Anna is criticized for Shannon's having allowed Soviet interceptors shoot down their more advanced plane rather than fighting back. She says that she considered shooting him, then decided that he would be more valuable for his knowledge than the plane would have been.
Shannon is then assigned to help test new aircraft, and pumped for information about American aircraft. He learns much about Soviet capabilities from the questions he is asked, while only giving up outdated information in return. When Anna discovers this, she initially plans to turn him in, then lets her personal feelings override her sense of duty. She finds herself under suspicion, disposes of the agent sent to keep an eye on her, steals a plane and helps Shannon escape back to the West.
|John Wayne||Col. Jim Shannon|
|Janet Leigh||Lt. Anna Marladovna Shannon/Olga Orlief|
|Jay C. Flippen||Maj. Gen. Black|
|Paul Fix||Maj. Rexford|
|Richard Rober||FBI Agent George Rivers|
|Roland Winters||Col. Sokolov|
|Hans Conried||Col. Matoff|
|Ivan Triesault||Gen. Langrad|