Lafayette Escadrille (1958)
Jimmy: [to the American flyers] Oh, say can you see, by dawn's early light!
Jimmy: [repeated line to the American flyers] Good morning, American bum!
Duke Sinclaire: I'm not sure I like being called a "bum"! I've always thought of myself as more of a "tramp".
[the American flyers are driving the French drillmaster crazy]
Duke Sinclaire: We've got him out-witted! Our feet are *killing* him!
Narrator: A half-forgotten corner of France in a wholly-forgotten war. In memory of the heroes of the Lafayette Escadrille, who died in defense of life and of liberty. This monument, this patch of foreign sky, belongs to a handful of Americans who flew for France and died for France in the First World War. They came with an air of adventure or a sense of impatience in the days before America entered the war. The wore French uniforms, they fought in French planes, and they fell in love with French women. These weren't just names in 1917; they were headlines. But this story is about a man whose name isn't carved in stone with the other young men of that old war. He ran away to war for reasons of his own. His name is Thad Walker.
Narrator: It stands in aging splendor on the outskirts of Paris. A war turned to stone in the broad museum of Europe. To the Americans who wore French uniforms, who fought in French planes, and fell in love with French women, history has reserved two words: Lafayette Escadrille.
Tom Hitchcock: This is a day to write home about.
Duke Sinclaire: Dear Mother: Today we flew at a dizzy height. 25 feet off the ground. Our estimated speed: a reckless 40 miles an hour. Dear Mother: We have grown used to the smell of burnt castor oil. And the confusion of instruments: an altimeter, a compass, and a revolutions counter.
Tom Hitchcock: Dear Mother: All he's gotta do now is land.