Much like "To The Shores Of Tripoli," "A Yank In The R.A.F." was designed as another war morale booster, using a rudimentary love triangle between Ty Power (coincidentally running into his former fling in London), John Sutton (the gentlemanly squadron commander), and part-time dancer/war helper Betty Grable.
Director Henry King introduces Grable via her legs, and provides ample moments of gam-sampling for the male crowd, while the women were treated to one of Power's usual cocky, wise-cracking personas ("I know… I'm a worm.") and plenty of full screen close-ups. King, already a veteran from the silent era, ultimately became of the studio's most prolific directors, literally helming every conceivable genre with varying budgets. (One of his ultimate achievements, made the following year, would be "The Captain From Castile," a massive production, with Tyrone Power as a ruined rich boy in feudal Spain, and John Sutton as an Inquisitor bigwig who torments Power's family straight to their graves.)
King's experience pays off with an efficient production, combining then-complex visual effects for the Dunkirk air raid, and some marvelous night attacks. These high-contrast sequences are nicely mastered for the DVD from an above-average print, showing minor wear but retaining natural blacks and rich grey levels.
The pseudo-stereo remix boosts the volume considerably, and some of the muddiness that plagued the original mono mix has been noticeably reduced. As with other discs, Fox also includes the mono soundtrack, and both mixes retain the heavy engine rumbles which underscore the film's aerial sequences (some, incidentally, photographed by Ronald Neame).
The disc's extras are slim, with Fox adding an array of vintage and more recent film and DVD trailers for the War Classics series. Of the group, only "Between Heaven and Hell" and "D-Day the 6th of June" are anamorphic, and the "Yank" trailer, while pretty worn and weary, is still intact.
© 2002 Mark R. Hasan
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