13 December 2006 | bkoganbing
The Airline From Hell
I really liked this B picture offering from RKO studios in the mid thirties. Flight from Glory is Ceiling Zero with a bit of Red Dust thrown in and a pinch of Dawn Patrol.
Onslow Stevens is the airline's man in Delgado which looks on the map to be in Bolivia. I presume the mines he's servicing are either silver or tin. Stevens has found a really great way to keep costs down a maximize profits. He buys the oldest planes possible and knowing that pilots who can work elsewhere will, he recruits among pilots who are in trouble in the States and some have even lost their licenses. They can't exactly quit for a better job. Scrap planes and scrap pilots, is this any way to run an airline?
Into this merry bunch of fliers who know they're a couple step up from slaves comes young Van Heflin and his bride Whitney Bourne. A bride is something that Stevens doesn't count on and of course a woman around the place gets the hormones racing for Chester Morris and Douglas Walton among others.
I liked the idea of Onslow Stevens as the villain and it was certainly an original idea in his type of villainy. The rather melodramatic ending was a bit much otherwise I would have given Flight from Glory a higher rating. Chester Morris is a fine cynical hero out of the Humphrey Bogart mold and Douglas Walton does well as poor man's Leslie Howard.
And I assure you that you won't find slimier villains than Onslow Stevens in too many films.