The Flying Missile

The Flying Missile is a 1950 black-and-white Cold War era Columbia Pictures film starring Glenn Ford and Viveca Lindfors. Made with the cooperation of the US Navy[1] it tells a fictionalised story of the then recently revealed story of the US Navy's first mounting and firing submarine-launched cruise missiles such as the Loon off the deck of submarines.[2]

The Flying Missile
original film poster
Directed byHenry Levin
Produced byJerry Bresler
Screenplay byJames Gunn
Richard English
Story byHarvey S. Haislip
N. Richard Nash
StarringGlenn Ford
Viveca Lindfors
Kenneth Tobey
Music byGeorge Duning
CinematographyWilliam E. Snyder
Edited byViola Lawrence
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • December 24, 1950 (1950-12-24) (U.S.)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States


Decorated submarine commander Commander William Talbot's (Glenn Ford) boat USS Bluefin (actually USS Cusk[3]) is on manoeuvers with the goal of simulating sinking the aircraft carrier USS Midway. Midway is carrying some politicians to view the test firing of a JB-2 missile from its flight deck. Sighting the carrier, Bluefin attempts a simulated torpedo attack but is detected and "sunk" by a depth charge attack from a destroyer.

After viewing the successful launching of the JB-2 from the surface, Talbot attempts to convince his commanding officer that if his submarine would have had a guided missile his attack on the carrier would have been successful. His commander relays the information that the Navy has been thinking of the same idea and sends Bluefin to the Pacific Missile Test Center at Naval Air Station Point Mugu for a short period of training and familiarisation. On the way to the base Bluefin ruins the fishing nets of Lars Hansen's (John Qualen) fleet, which fishes in the area when the Navy is not testing their missiles.

The crew of Bluefin are impatient with the training course they must take and attempt to speed things up and gather their own equipment through "midnight supply" (theft), but run afoul of the tight security on the base. Talbot meets and unsuccessfully attempts to seduce the base commander's secretary Karin Hansen, a Danish emigre who is the daughter of the still furious Captain Lars. Talbot does obtain from Karin the location of needed missile parts at an army base and obtains them for his boat.

The unorthodox procedures used so well in wartime cause tragedy to the couple; Karin loses her job for revealing information and Talbot's haste in launching a missile from his boat's deck results in his serious injury and the death of his friend Quartermaster "Fuss" Payne (Joe Sawyer). Talbot's depression leaves him not desiring to walk without braces and in danger of being medically discharged from the Navy.

Karin snaps Talbot out of his whining self-pity to take command of his boat during maneuvers for a submarine flotilla to attack a surface fleet. Talbot gets the idea for the missile-carrying submarines to launch their missiles, but then have them successfully guided to the surface fleet by the nearer submarines originally earmarked for a torpedo attack.



  1. Ford, Peter (2011). Glenn Ford a life. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 111. ISBN 0299281531.
  2. Boys' Life. Boy Scouts of America, Inc. p. 58. ISSN 0006-8608. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
  3. "1950". Retrieved 2015-07-24.
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