Today is Sunday, so it’s time for another 100 New Code Films article, the second of this week. This series is the most regular one we publish, since I write two of these articles every week in 2020. The only exceptions are four weeks this year in which I will only write one article, thus equaling 100 articles in all. Every article is a review of an American Breen Era (1934-1954) film which I have just seen for the first time. I combine these reviews with blogathon topics whenever possible by watching films which apply to certain topics, but the rest of the new Code films are just movies which my family and I felt like watching. This article’s topic is one such film.
Today’s topic is Flight Angels (1940). This movie is offered on Amazon Prime Video, so my mother added it to the watchlist. She thought it looked like a good film. We all agreed that the cast sounded excellent and the premise sounded fascinating, so we bought and watched this last Sunday.
At a commercial American airline in the years just before World War II, romance blooms between pilots and stewardess. A hotshot pilot is a playboy, but a lovely flight attendant hopes that he returns her feelings of love. His best friend and co-pilot is in a tumultuous relationship with a fiery stewardess. The two men are working on a special project of designing an improved airplane. Their plans are complicated when the great pilot receives the harsh news that his eyesight is failing. He will never lose his eyesight, but he can no longer see well enough to fly an airplane. He reluctantly becomes a instructor to flight attendants, teaching them about aviation as part of their training. Meanwhile, he and his stewardess sweetheart get married. However, the pilot is tortured by being unable to fly. The agony gets worse as the new plane, his special project, is going to be tested. Can he be content with his wife’s love and find a way to be happy when permanently grounded?
This movie stars Virginia Bruce, Dennis Morgan, and Wayne Morris. Supporting actors include Ralph Bellamy, Jane Wyman, John Litel, Margot Stevenson, and Dorothea Kent.
This film was directed by Lewis Seiler. The executive producer was Bryan Foy, and the associate producer was Edmund Grainger. The production company was Warner Bros. The screenplay was written by Maurice Leo. It was from an original story by Jerry Wald and Richard Macaulay.
This is a fair Code film. For the most part, it is a wholesome, decent, Code-compliant movie. There were, however, a couple of objectionable lines. The most obvious one is the fact that one of the stewardesses uses the expression “sex appeal.” There also were at least one or two other lines which I found questionable. Other than these, however, it is a very clean and acceptable movie.
I recommend this film. It is an enjoyable picture. Despite the fact that its two main stars, Virginia Bruce and Dennis Morgan, were famous performers, they don’t display their musical talents in this film. Instead, they rely on their acting alone. As the philandering and later tortured pilot, Chick Farber, Dennis Morgan is very dramatic. He is more intense in this part than in any other role of his which I have seen. His pugnacious, fiery performance made me wonder why he wasn’t more convincing as the belligerent Biff Grimes in One Sunday Afternoon (1948). Anyway, I enjoyed his performance as Chick. Virginia Bruce is a very faithful, sturdy, and often sad woman in her part as Mary, Chick’s sweetheart and later wife. Her interactions with her the gentlemen in her life are very memorable. The other person in Mary’s love triangle is the airline boss, Bill Graves (Ralph Bellamy). Ralph Bellamy is not an extremely memorable or arresting actor in many of his roles, and this is one such role. He never really gives Dennis Morgan any competition, and it is obvious that he doesn’t do anything romantically for Mary. However, he is obviously a very kind, generous, gentle fellow, and Mary considers him a dear friend as such. Speaking of friends, Wayne Morris is the perfect supporting character as Artie Dixon, Chick’s best friend and partner in the plane project. He is very funny as well as occasionally dramatic in this part. Perhaps the funniest character is Nan Hundson, played by Jane Wyman as you’ve never seen her before. In this role, the usually perky brunette is an almost obnoxiously hot-headed blonde. She gets so upset with her beau that she endangers his health and safety many times. However, her anger never lasts long. She also engages in some heated battles with other stewardesses, such as dressing room fights which involve cold cream throwing! This is not the greatest film with any of the actors, but it is entertaining and pleasantly unusual in many ways. I think you will enjoy it.
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