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The Fighting Lady

"The Fighting Lady," directed by William Wyler, provides a portrait of life on a World War II aircraft carrier, a vessel that is "enormous, wonderful, and strange to us." After profiling the various activities of the soldiers' day and following the ship's voyage through the Panama Canal, the film takes the audience through a litany of actual combat engagements. The Fighting Lady participates in a strike on the Marcus Islands, then defends itself against a surprise nighttime raid by Japanese fighters. Some of the photography comes from cameras set up in the cockpits of American planes, showing first hand what it's like to be diving through enemy anti-aircraft fire. The film culminates in a major confrontation with the Imperial Japanese Battle Fleet. In this massive operation, later dubbed the "Marianas Turkey Shoot," American pilots downed almost four hundred Japanese Zeros, while incurring only twenty-two losses themselves.

Eric Spiegelman
William Wyler

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