Movies Not On DVD: Strategic Air Command
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Movies Not On DVD: Strategic Air Command

It is unusual for movies with big stars to be left off the DVD release list, but Strategic Air Command is one of them. Strategic Air Command stars Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson and is one of the many pictures from Paramount Studios that is not available on DVD. The reason for this is quite a mystery.

Strategic Air Command tells the story of an aging professional baseball player, played by Jimmy Stewart, who gets called back into the military. Stewart goes back for another 18 months of duty with his wife played by June Allyson at his side. He must come to grips with the fact that going back into the service will most likely end his baseball career. He pilots the B-36 bomber and becomes involved in some exciting plot developments.

Strategic Air Command is a movie that is known for its great visuals and striking photography. The scenes of the mid-air refueling have left an impression on most viewers and the flying scenes are impressive with the assortment of great colors and camera angles. The acting is certainly competent but many fans of Jimmy Stewart have been left disappointed and consider this one of the weakest movies of his career. It lacks the action of many of his other films and seems to lack a cohesive plot.

The movie was released in 1955 during the height of the cold war and Strategic Air Command sometimes plays like a long advertisement for the Air Force. With a 110 minute running time, it is easy for the mind to wonder about the purpose and direction of the film. Strategic Air Command was filmed in color at a time when color movies were still the exception instead of the norm. A black and white film would have completely ruined the photographic effects that the movie is known for. The movie moves along at an acceptable pace and the acting is always top notch, but viewers cannot escape the feeling that the movie is an offering of military propaganda. Insiders have said that the movie was loosely based on the real life story of professional baseball player Ted Williams.

Strategic Air Command was released both on VHS and Laserdisc back in the 1980’s. It was re-released on VHS again in 1992. Collectors can spot the original release of the VHS by the blue label on the cassette instead of the white label on the newer version. Paramount never released an official DVD version of the movie. Paramount is notorious for not releasing many of their titles on DVD. The studio has always been hesitant to roll out movies on home video and was one of the last companies to jump into the DVD market. Although the movie is now close to 60 years of age, it is still not considered to be public domain and other companies still cannot legally release it on DVD. A couple of small companies have sneaked some DVD versions on the internet for sale, but none of these have been authorized by Paramount. The VHS version is a little difficult to obtain and can command a high price for non-rental versions. Tracking down an old VHS copy may be the only way that the general public is going to enjoy the movie at home.

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