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The story follows six midshipman after they graduate from Annapolis. Their goal is to become U.S. Navy pilots and three of them are eliminated at the San Diego Naval Base. The remaining three undergo grueling weeks of training at Pensacole Florida, and one crashes. The remaining two get their "wings" and are sent back to San Diego as full-fledged "Sea Hawks", and prepare there for the first Honolulu flight. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Good, if rather routine and predictable, drama about buddies Tommy (Ramon Novarro) and Steve (Ralph Graves) who are trying to earn their wings in the Navy but along the way they fall in love with the same woman (Anita Page) and it starts to ruin their friendship. Screenwriter Frank Wead was well known off the camera and most people remember him today for being played by John Wayne in THE WINGS OF EAGLES but he'd also write several screenplays including the one for THEY WERE EXPENDABLE. This here was his first screen writing job and while it's very routine and contains no shocks it does remain entertaining as it really comes off like a documentary. It really does seem as if Wead wanted to give people a good idea of what it was like being in the Navy in regards to what you have to go through, the comradery between men and of course their views on women. There's a funny bit where the men see Page in her bathing suit and say that's a great bit of seafood. What really makes this film work so well are the wonderful aerial shots including a couple terrific crashes. It seems all of these movies back in the silent era were trying to top each other in regards to their stunts and this one here is mighty impressive and just goes to show that CGI isn't needed. The ending is one people will see coming from miles away but the crash is quite tense as is the scenes in the water. Another plus are the three leads who are all in fine form. Both Novarro and Graves come across as real friends and their chemistry really jumps off the screen. Page is as beautiful as ever and comes across extremely charming. The three have no problems mixing it up and the supporting players are just as good. The one problem is that by even 1929 standards the love triangle is just too predictable and it really starts to drag the rest of the film down at times. With that said, THE FLYING FLEET is still worth checking out for the stars and stunts.
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