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August 25, 2023

40 Vintage Photos of Janet Leigh During the Filming of ‘Jet Pilot’ (1957)

Jet Pilot is a 1957 American Cold War romance film directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh. It was written and produced by Jules Furthman, and presented by Howard Hughes. Filming lasted more than eighteen months, beginning in 1949. The last day of shooting was in May 1953, but the Technicolor film was kept out of release by Hughes due to his tinkering until October 1957, by which time Hughes had sold RKO. Universal-International ended up distributing Jet Pilot.

The film went through several directorial changes, after Sternberg’s work between October 1949 and February 1950. After that, Philip Cochran (supervisor of aerial sequences), Furthman, Edward Killy (unit production manager), Byron Haskin (for the model work), and Don Siegel also directed scenes (Siegel’s weren’t used), as did Howard Hughes himself. All were uncredited as directors or second unit directors.

Although Jet Pilot was publicized as showcasing the U.S. Air Force’s latest jets, by the time it was finally shown, most of the aircraft in the film were obsolescent or obsolete, supplanted by more modern aircraft. In one aerial scene, the two lead characters fly a Lockheed F-94 Starfire to test a radar approach to intercept a propeller driven Convair B-36 bomber.

Jet Pilot was reportedly Howard Hughes’s favorite film, one he watched repeatedly in his later years. These vintage photos captured portraits of Janet Leigh during the filming of Jet Pilot in 1957.


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