I like to try to keep this site as geeky as possible, but I had to make an exception for today’s review. If you’re a fan of the site you’ll know I’m one of the few people that really likes 3D. 3D done well is a great experience, so I’ll take whatever oportunity I can to help promote it. In this case, great 3D arrives in the form of the new(ish) blu-ray of Dragonfly Squadron, a 1950s Korean war flick that was thought to be a “lost” 3D film.
Dragonfly Squadron takes place in Korea in 1950 before the official start of the Korean War. With the threat of war looming an Air Force Major is sent to accelerate the training of Korean pilots who will be needed during a major troop withdrawal. To add to the drama, the Major has a black mark on his service record as well as an ex lover who shows up at the base with her husband doctor.
The movie is a combination romance / war movie and it worked a lot better than I expected it to. When one says B movie, I expect extra schlock, but overall the movie maintains a great tone. It’s setting makes for a great story as you get to see the preparations for possible war leading to the war and the consequences of being on the front lines without any protection.
I’m not a huge old movie buff, so I didn’t recognize any of the stars except for Chuck Connors, star of the TV show The Rifleman. When he showed up I figured shit was about to go down and it did. Connors adds a man’s man presence of testosterone to the film and he’s got some great lines in this.
One element of Dragonfly Squadron that I really enjoyed was watching it in it’s historical perspective. There’s shades of future conflicts when they find a traitor who is an otherwise normal looking local, much like what U.S. soldiers would face in Vietnam and later wars. In fact, they even mention the war in “Indo China”. It’s pretty chilling if you think about it.
Dragonfly Squadron was believed a lost 3D film, because the 3D negatives were lost. Furthermore, it was never released theatrically in 3D, because the 3D fad of the 1950s was over by the time the movie came out. Basically, this release is pretty cool from a historical perspective.
I’m glad it wasn’t lost forever, because Dragonfly Squadron features fantastic 3D for most of the film. There’s virtually no pop outs, instead it is more like a modern 3D film that focuses on creating depth more like a window looking into the world of the film. There are many shots that feature an incredible amount of depth that really add to the presentation.
Like many films of it’s era (especially B movies), Dragonfly Squadron features some use of stock footage for the aerial combat. Those scenes are clearly not in 3D, but thankfully they’re short.
The Final Judgement:
It’s not the best flick I’ve ever seen, but Dragonfly Squadron is certainly entertaining. It’s a good film to watch if you’re a history buff, considering it’s a movie about the Korean War that had only ended a year prior to its release. A war that wasn’t as clear cut as World War II and one where World War II airplanes were still being used even though jet technology was available.
If you’re a 3D fan this is a must get. It’s great looking in 3D and the it adds to the experience of the film.
The film print isn’t perfect, but it’s fantastic considering it was thought lost and a lot of work was put into the restoration. If you’re a 3D movie fan (yeah, I know there’s still a few of you out there), be sure to check out the 3D Film Archive (site, Facebook). They’re doing a great job trying to restore old 3D movies.