In Java during the darkest days of World War II, an American pilot takes off in his squad's only air-worthy plane. His mission: drop the 500-pound bomb strapped to his plane's fuselage on a Japanese aircraft carrier. As he wings toward certain death, the airmen left behind share their comrade's life story - a stirring tale of love, ambition, political corruption and personal redemption.
PILOT NO. 5 is an oddly liberal-minded film to come from conservative old MGM. Franchot Tone plays an army pilot stationed in Java who volunteers for a suicide mission. He is chosen from five possible Allied candidates, hence the title. We learn via flashback just why Tone holds his life at so low a price; among his less pleasant reminiscences are his brief association with a demagogic Southern governor, blatantly based on Huey Long. PILOT NO. 5 served to introduce Gene Kelly in a supporting role--as a nasty, pugnacious young jerk.
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