1 May 2019 | TheLittleSongbird
Flying in the depression
Love Bette Davis, and 'Parachute Jumper' is another film where she was my main reason for seeing it in the first place with no prior knowledge of it before. My recommended for you section and wanting to see all of her films and performances (up to this point had seen most but not all) are to thank for that. Liked the idea of the story and was interested too in seeing how Davis and the always watchable Douglas Fairbanks Jr would fare working together.
They fare very well together indeed, and 'Parachute Jumper' is a very enjoyable and well done film. It's an early Davis film and role and although she did go on to better things this is a long way from being a waste of her massive amount of talent. Fairbanks is similarly well served, if not at his best. 'Parachute Jumper' may have been made quickly and not on the highest of budgets, but manages to have more enjoyment and entertainment value than some expensively made productions, old and now.
Sure 'Parachute Jumper' is not perfect. The story can be messy at times and tries to do too much, shifting uneasily between them quickly which gave a jumpy feel.
Wouldn't have said no to Davis having more to do. Occasionally the camera lacks finesse but that is more forgivable.
However, 'Parachute Jumper' really doesn't look too bad for a quickie, some have looked much worse. Some nice shots here that clearly had a ball capturing the stunts and airwork. No wonder as the stunts and airwork are never less than astounding and the best of them jaw dropping. Alfred Green does a very nice job directing, keeping things moving and allowing the cast to have fun, which they do.
'Parachute Jumper's' script is one of its major assets, its sparkling wit is just infectious and some of it is surprisingly daring, being made before the code was enforced (likewise with censorship), meaning more flexibility and risks. The film moves at a fast clip, and well as the great chemistry of the cast it's its boldly honest look at the Depression, no sugar-coating here, and the pre-code material. Fairbanks and Davis are immensely charming and look as if they were having fun, Davis also is at her most adorable. Fairbanks and an amusing Frank McHugh work well too.
All in all, very enjoyable. 7/10