...are what make this film interesting, not the rather pedestrian plot that could probably be seen as the backbone of hundreds of B programmers in the 30's and 40's.
The plot involves a corp of WWI flyers who stick together through the founding of aviation as a major means of transportation. One member of the group dies during the war and leaves behind a little daughter, Kitty. The group bands together to be a kind of "group dad" to the girl (Evelyn Knapp), going to the extreme of keeping her from dating anybody, though. Fast forward to the early 30's and the girl is now an "air hostess" - what is now called a flight attendant - onboard planes landing and leaving from the same airfield at which the old flying corp now works as mechanics and pilots.
Two pilots show up at the airfield at about the same time - Dick Miller (Arthur Pierson) and Ted Hunter (James Murray). Dick is the good guy, Ted is the bad boy. Kitty, being overprotected by her "group dad" is naturally intrigued by the bad boy, and a hasty marriage between the two ensues. Ted's big dreams, a lusty divorcée (Thelma Todd), and a daring train/plane race all figure into the plot from this point forward.
None of this by itself would make this film more than about 5/10. What raises it a couple of notches are two specific matters of interest. First, there is the chance to see commercial aviation as it was practiced in 1933. At this time, most people are still taking trains for cross-country journeys. You even get a shot of an early passenger plane galley.
Secondly, there is the matter of the fates of the three stars of this film - Evelyn Knapp, James Murray, and Thelma Todd. Evelyn Knapp had the kindest of the unkind fates. She was chosen by Warner Bros. to be built up as one of their early talking film stars in 1930 after starring in a series of comedy shorts for Pathe. You only have to see her first starring feature role in "Sinner's Holiday" to figure what is to come - Evelyn and Grant Withers have the picture stolen out from underneath them by the gritty James Cagney and Joan Blondell. Two years later Evelyn's time on the A-film circuit is over. Thelma Todd, whose career was doing fine at the time, was found dead in her garage in 1935 at age 30, and her death has always remained a mystery. James Murray had the saddest fate of all. Brought out of obscurity in 1928 to star in King Vidor's silent masterpiece "The Crowd" as an every-man whose life hits the skids, his life pretty much imitated art. He became a hopeless alcoholic in the 30's and was found dead in a river in 1936.
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