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Flying High (1931) More at IMDbPro »


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Buddy G. DeSylva (book) &
Lew Brown (book) ...
View company contact information for Flying High on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 November 1931 (USA) See more »
An eccentric inventor and his new flying machine are the focus of this musical comedy. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Gnong, gnong, gnong! See more (12 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bert Lahr ... Rusty
Charlotte Greenwood ... Pansy

Pat O'Brien ... Sport
Kathryn Crawford ... Eileen
Charles Winninger ... Doctor Brown

Hedda Hopper ... Mrs. Smith
Guy Kibbee ... Mr. Smith
Herbert Braggiotti ... Gordon
Gus Arnheim and His Orchestra (as Gus Arnheim and his Orchestra)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gus Arnheim ... Himself - the Orchestra Leader
Loretta Andrews ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Richard Carle ... Hotel Manager (uncredited)
Nick Copeland ... Aviator with the Jokester (uncredited)
Mildred Dixon ... Miss Dixon / Dancer (uncredited)
James Durkin ... Mr. Rankin - Detective (uncredited)
Ruth Eddings ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Bud Geary ... Dance Floor Extra (uncredited)
Mary Halsey ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Tom Kennedy ... Jokester with Firecrackers (uncredited)
Donald Novis ... Young Man (uncredited)
Dave O'Brien ... Dancer (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Reporter from the News (uncredited)
Herbert Prior ... Angry Investor with Eyeglasses (uncredited)
Buddy Roosevelt ... Aviator (uncredited)
Clarence Wilson ... Lunch Counter Manager (uncredited)

Directed by
Charles Reisner  (as Charles F. Reisner)
Writing credits
Buddy G. DeSylva (book and lyrics by) (as George G. De Sylva) &
Lew Brown (book and lyrics by) &
Ray Henderson (book and lyrics by) and
John McGowan (book and lyrics by) (as John Mc Gowan)

Charles Reisner (adaptation) (as Charles F. Riesner)

A.P. Younger (screen play and dialogue)

Robert E. Hopkins (additional dialogue)

Produced by
George White .... producer
Cinematography by
Merritt B. Gerstad (photography)
Film Editing by
William S. Gray (film editor)
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Costume Design by
Adrian (gowns)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sandy Roth .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Ralph Shugart .... sound (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Clarence Sinclair Bull .... still photographer (uncredited)
Music Department
Dorothy Fields .... composer: additional songs and music
Jimmy McHugh .... composer: additional songs and music
William Axt .... composer: title music (uncredited)
Charles Maxwell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Busby Berkeley .... dances created by
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
80 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

Actors Tommy Conlon, Tom McGuire and Harry Watson were listed as cast members in a pre-production note in the Hollywood Reporter, but they were not seen in the movie.See more »
Pansy:Oh Rusty, here I am, all dressed up and no place to go. Nobody loves me. Oh, why was I ever born?
Rusty:Well, everybody makes mistakes.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Red-Headed Woman (1932)See more »
It'll Be the First Time for MeSee more »


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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Gnong, gnong, gnong!, 3 June 2003
Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales

Bert Lahr starred in several musical revues on Broadway, but one of his rare successes in a 'book' musical (with a plotline) was 'Flying High', a topical comedy which scored points off the aviation contests and wing-walking stunts that were so popular in America at this time.

The plot is some froth about rival aviators competing for a transcontinental air race; the winner to receive a large cash prize, fame, and so forth. Gordon is the wealthy playboy pilot who wants to sink his skyhooks into sweet little Eileen Cassidy.

Bert Lahr, in fine form and looking surprisingly athletic, plays Rusty Krause, the airfield mechanic who is (somewhat unwillingly) engaged to Pansy (Charlotte Greenwood), who seems to be some sort of airport groupie. Rusty, who has no piloting experience, accidentally goes aloft in an experimental 'aero-copter'. Not willing to let her man fly away that easily, Pansy jumps on the tail of the 'copter just before it leaves the ground. Once they're up in the air, something goes wrong with the 'copter. While Rusty moans in terror, Pansy climbs out on the fuselage and fixes the rudder.

Charlotte Greenwood is one of my favourite actresses: funny, intelligent, and extremely athletic despite her tall gawky physique. She often played super-competent women strangely attracted to weakling men. She's an utter delight here, doing her airborne acrobatics (despite some bad process photography). When 'Flying High' ran on Broadway, Lahr's leading lady was Kate Smith ... yes, the moon-mountainous singer. I can't imagine how the stage production managed the climactic scene in the aero-copter, high above solid ground ... and I also can't imagine the very plus-sized Kate Smith as Pansy, enacting a stagebound version of Charlotte Greenwood's acrobatics in this movie. That's not a cheap crack about Kate Smith's girth; I'm forced to assume that her characterisation was very different from Greenwood's.

The funniest scene in this film is Lahr's medical examination, in which Doc Brown straps him into a revolving drum and sends it spinning rapidly while Lahr howls in agony. But the best gag of all comes in the same scene, while Lahr's feet are on the ground. (I'll set up the joke by mentioning that this movie was made during Prohibition, when every red-blooded American male carried a hip flask full of booze.) The doctor hands Lahr an empty bottle and tells Lahr to give him a 'specimen'. Lahr doesn't know what this means. Just as the doctor is about to explain, his phone rings. While on the phone, Doc Brown pantomimes to Lahr that he must fill up the bottle. As the doctor looks away, Lahr whips out his hip flask and fills the bottle with amber fluid. (I assume it's amber; this is a monochrome movie.) Doc Brown rings off the phone, just in time for Lahr to hand him a full bottle and announce: 'Here y'go, Doc. I could only spare a quart.' The sophisticated audiences on Broadway gave this line the biggest laugh of Lahr's career. It's a pity that Lahr is remembered only as the Cowardly Lion, and his brilliant comedy portrayals are forgotten. I'll rate 'Flying High' 8 out of 10.

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