A Yank in the R.A.F. was 20th Century-Fox's first major World War II movie.
The screenplay for the movie was written by Darryl F. Zanuck, head of production at 20th Century-Fox. He used the pseudonym Melvill Crossman.
Tyrone Power had hoped that his friend, and co-star of three previous movies, Alice Faye would be his leading lady; however, the
role went to Betty Grable, the latest singing and dancing sensation being promoted by Fox. Gable became the number one pin-up girl of World War II.
In the original title for Yank in the R.A.F. was The Eagle Squadron.
As the script was originally written, Ty's character, Tim Baker, was to have been killed. Ty, however, was extremely popular with the British moviegoers. The British government asked Zanuck to change the ending, as they felt it would be bad for British morale to have Ty's character die. Zanuck agreed to change the ending.
The original film also had the Betty Grable character deciding to marry the John Sutton character, rather than Ty's character. Sneak previews of the film didn't go so well with that ending, and it, too, was changed, and Ty came back to the lot for re-take.
From the Critics
The movie did very well at the box-office, and it received generally good critical review. Examples of the film reviews:
Variety: "Power clicks solidly as the happy-go-lucky American pilot sure of his abilities with both planes and women. He handles his role with a lightly nonchalant attitude which will catch wide audience attention."
The New York Times: "Never have Darryl F. Zanuck and 20th Century-Fox owed so much to so few as they due for the pulsing excitement contained in their new film. Tyrone Power and Betty Grable play the lovers with gusto. Mr. Power is a clean-cut youngster who looks and behaves as you think an American would under the circumstances and for similar reasons. Miss Grable is plenty of reason, too, and acts as though she knows what she's about. Both are as good as they've ever been in this... There is good entertainment in this picture."
New York Herald Tribune "What makes A Yank in the R.A.F. a rather stunning entertainment is the fact that it keys right in to memorable events which constitute the pattern of this present chapter in history. As for acting, Tyrone Power, in the title role, gives the best performance he has turned in for some time. He carries genuine conviction as the happy-go-lucky flyer who fights for freedom with the R.A.F."