The Skywayman (1920)

 |  Drama  |  5 September 1920 (USA)
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Cast overview:
Ormer Locklear ...
Capt. Norman
Louise Lovely ...
Virginia Ames
Sam De Grasse ...
Dr. Wayne Leveridge
Ted McCann ...
William Elmer
Jack Brammall ...
Nobby Brooks


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Release Date:

5 September 1920 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dans les nues  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ormer Locklear and Milton 'Skeets' Elliott were killed on the last day of filming, when a nighttime stunt flight went horribly wrong. The fatal crash was included in the released film, but no copy of it seems to exist. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood: Hazard of the Game (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

The Skywayman (1920) -- Horrible Tragedy
7 July 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Captain Norman Craig ( Lt. Ormer Locklear ), a war hero, returns suffering from a loss of memory sustained in an accident at the front. His sweetheart, Virginia Ames ( Louise Lovely ), anxiously accepts the advice of scientist Dr. Wayne Leveridge ( Sam DeGrasse ) when he tells her that he has conceived a plan to restore the captain's memory. In actuality, the doctor is scheming to lure Virginia and the Ames jewels into his possession. The doctor suggests a fake robbery, but Craig pursues the thieves by plane, and in the ensuing struggle a blow to the head restores his memory. The doctor's motives thus exposed, the crooks are arrested and the captain finally remembers his sweetheart.

During the last night of filming this 1920 drama, a spectacular crash occurred over DeMille Airfield from 5,000 feet. On the night of August 2, 1920, one stunt was being filmed using floodlights to help guide the pilots and enable them to be seen by the camera. The two pilots, Ormer Locklear and Milton "Skeets" Elliott were operating a bi-plane and instructed the crew members to shut off the lights when they were getting ready to get close to the ground. They had flares attached to the wings, giving the planes the illusion that it was on fire. The plane was to simulate a crash on the ground. The crew neglected the directions to turn off the floodlights. Blinded by the glare of the lights, the pilots had no idea the ground was closer to them than they thought and the plane crashed, killing both instantly. Locklear's girlfriend, Viola Dana was on set and witnessed the crash. The scene along with its aftermath (complete with Dana's horrified reaction) was left in the film, making it one of the first films to feature the on screen deaths of its members. The scene shocked audiences worldwide and rocked the Hollywood community. This film remains among the many lost silents, a terrible loss for silent cinema.

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