Monday, October 16, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Flight Angels (1940) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

FLIGHT ANGELS (1940) is a most enjoyable Warner Bros. "B" film, available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

Dennis Morgan and Wayne Morris play hotshot commercial airline pilots of an American Airlines Flagship Skysleeper. As the movie opens, they pilot a plane to Chicago, landing in thick fog while stewardess Mary (Virginia Bruce) delivers a baby in the back of the plane. How can you not love this movie?!

Unfortunately Morgan's character flunks his vision test, which leads him to make irrational plans to fly in China, where they won't care about such niceties as vision tests and licenses; the odd thing is that in his self-absorbed pity -- and egotistical self-confidence -- he never considers the potential impacts his decisions will have on his passengers or those on the ground.

However, since the movie runs a quick 74 minutes, he's forced to snap out of it and stop focusing on himself pretty quickly. WWII being right around the corner has the needed effect.

The guys are cute, Bruce is at her absolute loveliest, and Jane Wyman is a hoot as Morris's aggressive girlfriend.

FLIGHT ANGELS the kind of film where Ralph Bellamy is the airport operations manager and John Litel is the pilots' doctor, with fave WB stalwart John Ridgely as an Army lieutenant.

That's William Hopper, many years before PERRY MASON, as another pilot, and Jan Clayton as a student stewardess; Clayton was still half a decade away from starring in the original Broadway cast of CAROUSEL and even more years away from TV immortality on LASSIE.

Between the stewardesses and Morgan's girlfriends, many young actresses turn up onscreen, including Mary Anderson (GONE WITH THE WIND, LIFEBOAT), Margot Stevenson, Rosella Towne, Maris Wrixson, Dorothea Kent, Lynn Merrick, and Carol Hughes. Janet Shaw is the expectant mother.

As Warner Bros. contract players, Morgan, Morris, and Wyman all worked together regularly, including being reunited the following year for BAD MEN OF MISSOURI (1941).

Like many films of the era, Glendale Airport turns up as a location. It's recognizable by its distinctive arches.

There's a sad footnote to the plane seen in this film. According to IMDb, the plane left Puerto Rico and disappeared on December 28, 1948, ostensibly at the Bermuda Triangle. It has never been found.

FLIGHT ANGELS was directed by Lewis Seiler and filmed in black and white by L. William O'Connell.

The Warner Archive DVD is an especially good-looking print. The disc includes the trailer.

Fans of "B's" and aviation films should find this one fast-paced fun.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


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