The most interesting part of Air Hostess (the term stewardess had apparently not come into use yet) is seeing all the early cinematography of passenger airliners and the surroundings. I took my first ride in an airliner as an infant in 1948 and the next one didn't come until the mid Sixties. It's fascinating to see what we take for granted even back then as compared to what the first airline passengers had to deal with.
Perky Evelyn Knight plays a character that if Air Hostess were an operetta, Jeanette MacDonald would have been cast. She's an air orphan who has grown up and around aviation since her dad who was a war ace was killed. Jeanette played just such a character in The Girl Of The Golden West.
She's got a couple of the pilots now who are checking her out, steady and reliable Arthur Pierson and daredevil stunt pilot James Hall. Hall has a scheme to become the Lindbergh of the Pacific and even has a ship designed for the trip if he can ever raise the heavy duty dough needed for it. Knapp winds up marrying Hall.
But a minx gets in the mix when rich playgirl widow Thelma Todd enters the film. The mantrap has it set for the glamorous Hall and he's needing her money real bad for his trans-Pacific voyage.
It's a formula plot despite all the aviation facade and that's where Air Hostess stumbles. The players do make it work, especially Todd who is so enticing.
In fact another thing about Air Hostess is the tragedy surrounding both the tempting and the tempted in this plot. Both James Murray of whom a brilliant career was predicted after his rave reviews in King Vidor's silent classic The Crowd and Thelma Todd would die within four years of this film. Knowing that lends a certain poignancy to their scenes together.
Air Hostess is a must film for aviation buffs, showing a picture of early airliners, for the rest of us it's an easy to take, but strictly formula plot.
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