Desperate Journey (1942)

Desperate Journey (1942)

“We must all do our work before we can go back to doing what we love.”

A group of downed Allied airmen (Errol Flynn, Ronald Reagan, Alan Hale, Arthur Kennedy, and Ronald Sinclair) fight against the Nazis while being pursued by a relentless major (Raymond Massey), eventually receiving support from a beautiful young Resistance fighter (Nancy Coleman).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Alan Hale Films
  • Arthur Kennedy Films
  • Errol Flynn Films
  • Nazis
  • Raoul Walsh Films
  • Raymond Massey Films
  • Ronald Reagan Films
  • World War II

Raoul Walsh’s second of seven collaborations with Errol Flynn — after They Died With Their Boots On (1941), and before Gentleman Jim (1942) and Objective, Burma! (1945), among others — was this quickly produced comedic wartime drama clearly designed to get young American men excited at the prospect of heading out to war. DVD Savant accurately describes it as “a preposterous tale of Allied derring-do behind enemy lines, with Flynn and his gung-ho buddies (including his Robin Hood sidekick Alan Hale) making fools of the Nazis in their own back yard” — meaning, none of it should be taken too seriously despite the gravity of the subject matter. While several of the airmen do (nobly) die, we know at least some will survive — and to the film’s credit, their final moments are truly a satisfying fantasy.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Bert Glennon’s cinematography

Must See?
No, though Flynn fans will likely want to check it out.


One thought on “Desperate Journey (1942)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    Enthusiasts of WWII flicks are the main audience here and they’re likely to not be disappointed – even though it isn’t significantly unique. (I’d been led elsewhere to believe the film is “comedic” but it’s only so in small bits. Some of the airmen’s dialogue is overly lighthearted and a little verbose but I suppose that’s meant to balance the heaviness of the situation.)

    Typically solid direction by Walsh. Best is the last half-hour or so.

Leave a Reply