Island in the Sky William A. Wellman

There's nothing more deadly dull than the sentimentality of macho men: the more they thrash about trying to look manly, the more like children they become. So it is with Island in the Sky, which pits John Wayne and a crew of airmen against the cold Canadian wilderness where they crash-land, except nobody looks truly inconvenienced by the 70-below temperatures, though they sure expend a lot of energy pretending, and induce a raft of the other boys into trying to find their position. Camp fanciers might have some fun with a few lines ("Hello, my little kumquat! What's on your mind?"), but mostly it's a crashing bore made by people with more interest in getting the boys together than in composing a shot or writing some sensible dialogue. This is its first airing after decades in the vault, though only diehard, uncritical fans of Wayne and novelist/screenwriter Ernest K. Gann will get anything out of its tired histrionics. Extras include an introduction by Leonard Maltin (which sets you up for an actual movie and praises the film's lack of "irony and cynicism"), a commentary with Maltin, William Wellman, Jr., cast member Darryl Hickman and aviation/Gann expert Vincent Longo that's chock-full of vivid recollections, a four-part documentary that features the production (adequate), Ernest K. Gann (reverent), aerial photography (decent) and an interview with Harry Carey, Jr. (rambling), a short and stuffy featurette on the Air Transport Command, newsreel footage of the premiere, a John Wayne intro to Gunsmoke (in support of cast member James Arness), a photo gallery, and a trailer reel of more titles from Wayne's Batjac Productions. (Paramount)