Walt Disney Home Video, 1999. DVD, 108 minutes, rated PG. $14.99.
SET DURING THE 1930S, The Rocketeer’s unambiguous hero Cliff (Billy Campbell) is an airracing pilot who’s lucky enough to date Jenny, a hot fledgling actress (pre-oscar-winning Jennifer Connelly), and pal around with crusty but lovable mechanic sidekick Peevy (Alan Arkin). He and Peevy stumble onto a topsecret jetpack, which Cliff learns to fly by adding the requisite custom-built suit and pseudonym, all while being chased by gangsters, the FBI, and Nazis.
The film, released in 1991, portrays more elegance than the Depression era had. Everything is bright, colorful, and shiny. Country roads billow clean dust, and when Howard Hughes inevitably shows up, he’s perfectly sane.
Will Cliff beat the Nazis, gangsters, and the FBI? Will he rescue Jenny, keep the top-secret jetpack, and retain his super-secret true identity? Will movie lovers relive the simpler times of Saturday matinees and heroes like Flash Gordon? To learn the answer to these and many other questions, cue up The Rocketeer!
SPACE/SMITHSONIANPHIL SCOTT IS A FREQUENT AIR &
HAS WRITTEN HUNDREDS OF MAGAZINE
ARTICLES AND SIX BOOKS, INCLUDING THE
WRONG STUFF: ATTEMPTS AT FLIGHT BEFORE
(& AFTER) THE WRIGHT BROTHERS.