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Thursday, January 01, 2015

Korea Confusion --- Which Hodiak Was Which?


Mission Over Korea (1953) Another Low-Budget Tour Of Duty

Did I dream I'd already seen this, or was it another John Hodiak in Korea pic? Turns out indeed it was, one called Battle Zone that figured into a previous post (plus there's Dragonfly Squadron, with Hodiak holding the Korean line in 3-D). Budget combat, like westerns, tend to blur. Sometimes you're twenty minutes in before realization of having watched before, as in only months before. Do I need to be paying closer attention to these things? This time there is Hodiak as steadying influence for maverick flyer John Derek, who wants to square account with all of North Korea (China too) for his brother's death. Their mission is to photograph war zones, but Derek won't resist gunplay from air advantage. Producer Robert Cohn actually spent four weeks with directing Fred Sears in Korea to get first-hand battle stuff for Mission (85,000 feet brought back), this used to flavor what they'd later shoot with principals in H'wood. Story and situations amount to pulp, but Korea was a hotbed, and customers were interested in anything set there. Variety found Mission to be "episodic ... inconclusive," not an outright pan as maybe the show deserved, but trades were lenient toward support features, these the lifeblood of exhibition what with always crying need for product.

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