The story is centered on commercial pilots eager to fly higher and up-in-the-air attendants eager to land a man.The story is centered on commercial pilots eager to fly higher and up-in-the-air attendants eager to land a man.The story is centered on commercial pilots eager to fly higher and up-in-the-air attendants eager to land a man.
A Surprisingly Interesting and Entertaining Film
This film is far better than the usual kind of fluff aviation film made during the late 1930's and into the late 1940's. I expected a light romantic comedy--"not that there is anything wrong with that!"--and was surprised that it is quite interesting on other levels. The plot involved all the predictable vicissitudes of a pilot trying to come to grips with losing his flight qualification due to failing eyesight, and the film does have its share of predictable situations and character foibles. But what is most interesting is how it accurately reflects the state of aviation at the time: the concern over furnishing more reliable and safe all-weather commercial aviation, the challenge and opportunity of developing long-range high-altitude "stratosphere" airplanes, and the behind-the-scenes concern of national security, namely the expectation that we might be eventually involved in the war in China (and of course we were, a year after this film came out, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor). The airplane star of the show is the relatively new Douglas DC-3 (then just 4 years in airline service), a 21 passenger airliner, but there are also very good in-flight visuals of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra, the "stratosphere ship" of the movie. Finally, the acting is better than one might expect--minimal histrionics, some genuine chuckles, and a dialogue that includes some interesting lines. Virginia Bruce is coolly luscious, Denny Morgan and Wayne Morris do a credible job as airmen, and Ralph Bellamy is appropriately "heavy" as their boss. (Incidentally, in the "real world," Morris was inspired by his role in this film to become a Navy pilot, flying Grumman Hellcats in the Pacific and shooting down 7 Japanese planes). A very enjoyable movie, particularly for anyone interested in aviation in the heyday of the propeller-driven airplane!
- Jun 17, 2005
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