3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Wings of a Warrior brings you closer to the full story than any other accounting before. Told with great personal pride by Gardner Doolittle, he spent incredible time with Jimmy Doolittle reconstructing his life story and now goes well beyond the typical tales that center around the Tokyo raid alone. His access to the Medal of Honor winner brings forth numerous stories that have never been heard before, along with rare photos from private archives. For anyone interested in Doolittle's story, this film really tells it with an enthusiasm not seen before.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Pvt. W.G. Kirby
- Published on Amazon.com
The DVD title implies a more complete historical biography of one of the true American heroes of the 20th, or any other century. I'm sorry to say that it simply falls short. While no biography on such a complex person as Jimmy Doolittle can ever be "complete", there are too many unspoken words and way too many flaws and errors in the telling that could have been easily corrected. Don't take this wrong, the author/producer/director/narrator/etc. of the DVD did what he felt was the best, and the video will open doors on Jimmy Doolittle for future researchers to get started, but I'm concerned that the future researcher, looking for something short and simple to use will consider this the "ultimate" reporting of the facts on the man.
The creator of the piece is a third cousin to General Doolittle and even had him proofread and correct the initial outline this all originated from. However, that was more than twenty years ago, Jimmy Doolittle having passed away in 1993. It seems from original, corrected outline, there were some major mistakes in reporting made. It does not appear that the author had any of the close Doolittle family members nor any of the surviving Doolittle Raiders who could have made necessary corrections and additions to the script. Neither was THE recognized historian on the subject of Jimmy Doolittle; Carroll Glines, involved. None of these listed sources would have EVER signed off on what is presented. I seem to feel that after such a long amount of time, the author may have "just wanted to get it done"! Or taking the monetary track, manufacture the DVDs and get them on the market before all interest in WWII and the vetrans of it are literaly dead! The only Doolittle names in the credits are those of the author, and two research/helpers/etc., who strike me as perhaps the children of the author/producer/boss!
Ok, so it doesn't present many of the facts correctly. It is a well written narration. The author/narrator has a pleasant voice, and what he wrote is well and convincingly presented in a voice that sounds very much like Harry Reasoner! Video image is sharp, but limited. What we mostly see is a live talking head either outside in a garden-like area, or inside what looks like the den or study of a private home with some Doolittle themed photos pinned up in the background. He narrates a series of B&W still photos mostly, intercut with some stock newsreel films of WWII and 1930s aviation. BUT, many of the photos are mis-identified as to who or waht we are seeing. In one shot we see Eddie Rickkenbacker identified as Doolittle. B-24s as B-25s. Stuff like that. One of the worst gaffes has narration speaking on the technological rise of the Luftwaffe in the mid-30s while showing a photo of post war German Air Force jet fighters and pilots from the laate 1950s! Come on, if you know history and enough about aviation to even be interested in this topic, you'd never let this happen! Researchers with no real interest/historical knowledge? Perhaps too young?
On starting the DVD, you can view a conversation with the producer/writer/ and so on. He's made his living doing such stuff he tells us, etc. Gives story about being James Doolittle's relative but never being too interested in him over the years. Then speaks of the outline revisions and his only meetings with General Doolittle. (What a resource he squandered there!) Anyhow, the man is third cousin to the General...and I was floored by his resemblence to his noted relative. I mean, you can see Jim Doolittle in his looks...I guess the eyes, mostly. And the voice of Harry Reasoner!
What I did like was when author Doolittle gave the viewer an insight into his heroic cousin from his personal contact with him 20+ years ago. Those were vintage JIMMY DOOLITTLE. But they were far too few and far between in this eighty minute video. For these bits, I praise the creator/etc. of this DVD. It gives it the only real value I can find in it....but is it enough to justify buying it?
Only you can decide that. I'm sorry, but I can't recommend it.
- Published on Amazon.com
Gardner Doolittle (who is a third cousin relation to Jimmy Doolittle) has a voice which is somewhere between gravelly and one that growls — usually not the best choice for a narrator — especially with predictable spoken euphemisms. The archival footage used in the production fits into the story well but a very small portion of this footage does not jive with the narration. These small errors have no effect regarding the accuracy of the story given and do serve to set the emotive forces at work back in the day so many decades ago.
The above small critiques if mistakenly focused upon, albeit factual, will have the viewer miss the point and substance of this DVD entirely. Gardner Doolittle met Jimmy Doolittle late in his life, by fortunate accident, and tells the story of this famous man in this production he both narrated and directed (along with the help of others in the family). There are times in the narration where his voice quavers a bit and the eyes take a few seconds to look upward like when a man is regaining his bearings during particularly powerful portions of this wonderfully told story. Photographs, excellent ones, are also used with a muted Ken Burns effect. This is not a documentary, this is a story told with passion (though a bit hidden but typical of his generation) and accuracy — the facts and stories are all correct — wanting to show the entire man, in Gardner’s words. Gardner Doolittle of course addresses the famous raid on Tokyo led by Jimmy Doolittle but addresses so much more so that we see the full measure of who can be argued to be this country’s greatest aviator.
Gardner’s motivation, in fact, was to have the world know that Jimmy Doolittle was so much more than the man who led that incredibly important and effective raid as well as daring air racer. Along the course of the journey Gardner leads the viewer on he smoothly explains Jimmy Doolittle’s:
Historic trophy winning exploits which include the Bendix, Mackay, Schneider and Thompson
The first to complete an outside loop as well as land after loss of a rudder (usually pilots bailed out of the aircraft at the time)
We learn of his near misses including completion of a loop having the landing gear touch ground
Earning his PhD in aeronautics from MIT — making him an experienced aviator as well as one who could work with engineers to develop new dimensions in aviation
His approach to Shell Oil to which resulted in 100 octane aviation gasoline to yield more power and longer range from aircraft since World War II was looming just over the horizon
Working with the famed Guggenheimer Flight Laboratory to develop blind instrument flying and becoming the first pilot to take off, fly and land entirely on instruments
Leading the 8th Air Force (among others) but being the first to release fighters from close bomber escort where they became more effective (an unpopular move at the time but Jimmy Doolittle as we see in the DVD was not a man who sought popularity over getting the job done). He also flew in twenty of those combat missions.
His incredible career serving presidents of the United States as well as leading industry after his active military service concluded— including the historic Doolittle Report which reshaped the CIA after 1954 under the Eisenhower Administration.
Gardner also corrects the record:
Explaining that it was Capt. Francis Low who first thought of the idea to use land based medium bombers to fly off carrier decks to attack Japan, not Jimmy Doolittle
It was Admiral Halsey, not Doolittle, who ordered the early launch of those Mitchell bombers off the USS Wasp to raid Tokyo
Jimmy Doolittle also associated with many historical people and Gardner excels is describing stories about Jimmy and the likes of Hap Arnold and George Patton. His personal life is addressed including the tragic and early death of his eldest son as well as the loss of one of his most trusted comrades, Flight Chief Paul Leonard, during World War II — this is where the eyes and voice tell us how passionate Gardner is with regard to this history.
This is a DVD well worth the viewing where the viewer will learn of the vast breadth of history made by Jimmy Doolittle — including, but not limited to, the raid on Tokyo and his air racing exploits.
As is the publishing business custom, Shelter Island Label provided a copy of this DVD for an objective review.