IMDb > Night Flight (1933)
Night Flight
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Night Flight (1933) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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6.4/10   316 votes »
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Release Date:
6 October 1933 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Polio breaks out in Rio de Janeiro, the serum is in Santiago and there's only one way to get the medicine where it's desperately needed: flown in by daring pilots who risk the treacherous weather and forbidding peaks of the Andes. | Add synopsis »
NewsDesk:
(6 articles)
TCM Schedule: Lionel Barrymore Movies Including Night Flight Premiere
 (From Alt Film Guide. 10 August 2012, 1:32 AM, PDT)

"Kiss Me Deadly" and More DVDs
 (From MUBI. 21 June 2011, 1:34 PM, PDT)

DVD: DVD: Night Flight
 (From The AV Club. 7 June 2011, 10:00 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
A must see for vintage aviation enthusiasts. See more (21 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

John Barrymore ... Riviere

Helen Hayes ... Simone Fabian

Clark Gable ... Jules Fabian

Lionel Barrymore ... Insp. Robineau

Robert Montgomery ... Auguste Pellerin

Myrna Loy ... Wife of Brazilian Pilot
William Gargan ... Brazilian Pilot
C. Henry Gordon ... Daudet
Leslie Fenton ... Jules' Radio Operator / Co-Pilot
Harry Beresford ... Pierre Roblet
Frank Conroy ... Radio Operator
Dorothy Burgess ... Pellerin's Girlfriend

Irving Pichel ... Dr. Decosta

Helen Jerome Eddy ... Worried Mother
Buster Phelps ... Sick Child
Ralf Harolde ... Pilot
Marcia Ralston ... Nightclub Vamp
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Maurice Black ... Nightclub Manager (uncredited)
Ed Brady ... Radio Operator on Telephone (uncredited)
Sidney D'Albrook ... Airport Office Employee (uncredited)
Claire Du Brey ... Santiago Nurse (uncredited)
Sherry Hall ... Airport Office Employee (uncredited)
Otto Hoffman ... Airport Office Clerk (uncredited)

George Irving ... Santiago Doctor (uncredited)
Wallace MacDonald ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Michael Mark ... Airport Office Employee (uncredited)
Francis McDonald ... Radioman (uncredited)
Louis Natheaux ... Radioman (uncredited)
Inez Palange ... Simone's Maid (uncredited)
Edward Peil Sr. ... Airport Office Employee (uncredited)
Evelyn Selbie ... Mother in Window (uncredited)
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Directed by
Clarence Brown 
 
Writing credits
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (novel "Vol de nuit")

Oliver H.P. Garrett  screenplay

Produced by
Clarence Brown .... producer
David O. Selznick .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Herbert Stothart 
 
Cinematography by
Oliver T. Marsh 
 
Film Editing by
Hal C. Kern 
 
Art Direction by
Alexander Toluboff 
Cedric Gibbons (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles Dorian .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Hobe Erwin .... interior decorator
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Robert Shirley .... sound recordist (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
A. Arnold Gillespie .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Paul Mantz .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Evan Unger .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Elmer Dyer .... aerial photography
Charles A. Marshall .... aerial photography (as Charles Marshall)
Eddie Fitzgerald .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Kyme Meade .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Oscar Radin .... conductor
Charles Maxwell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
84 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Three scenes show radio operators sending Morse Code. One code key looked like a J-38 single key and two were a two paddle key made by the Vibroplex Company which is still in business. The Vibroplex is also known as a Bug because of the bug logo on the key.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
How Dry I AmSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
38 out of 40 people found the following review useful.
A must see for vintage aviation enthusiasts., 13 March 2003
Author: max von meyerling from New York

Not as bad as one has been led to believe. The strengths and weaknesses of this production are exactly those of the studio system. No expense or effort has been spared to make this film, yet it never really `sings'. The cast is one of the most spectacular rounded up for an 84 minute film. The photography has a black and white sheen, a luminosity, which must have been unspeakably spectacular in the original nitrate print projected on a silver screen. The sets, a rare non- Cedric Gibbons design at MGM (credited to Alexander Toluboff) are suitably jazzy. The first five minutes are a set-up for audience sympathy dealing with an emergency delivery of Polio serum. Corny but well done. The worst parts of the film are exactly where it cleaves closest to St. Expury's original. Characters stop and begin to expostulate with a touch of the Eugene O'Neill's. In this case poetry is better shown than expressed. One of the strangest phenomena of Night Flight is the fact that the legion of stars in the cast rarely, if ever, play a scene with one another. Helen Hayes is married to Clark Gable yet they never share the screen together.

The film is strangely like a series of monologues or at best two shots. All of the characters and the drama are supposed to be tied together by John Barrymore, the hard driving managing director of the Trans Andean European AirMail. The original novel was based on St. Expury's experiences as a flyer, and later, a manager, with Aeropostale, the pioneering French Air Mail line later merged into Air France. Using Buenos Aries as a center, Aeropostale developed South American airoutes south to Patagonia, to the oil fields near Tierra del Fuego. The chief of station and one of Aeropostale's founders, Didier Daurat, (Riviere in the film) became legendary for his single minded drive to get the mail through, an early example of existential ethics. Another route was forged north across the River Plate and Uruguay to and through Paraguay to Bolivia and another, most spectacularly, across the Andes to Santiago, Chile.

Heros were produced which electrified France and the world. Mermoz pioneered the Dakar - Natal route across the South Atlantic as well as the Buenos Aries to Natal route. Henri Guillaumet flew across the Andes 396 times. The Andes were too high to be overflown even by the latest improved models used by Aeropostale and pilots had to fly their way around and through the mountains rather than over them, something which is shown in the film. For enthusiasts of vintage aviation the film is priceless with maybe three quarters of the flying done for real. John Barrymore unfortunately has begun his decline by the time this film was made and does his `eyebrow' thing to excess, signalling that he was either unhappy with his role or his domestic arrangements or both. Gable, just beginning his reign as the King of Hollywood, is almost unrecognizable in his pilot's outfit. Robert Montgomery manages to have scenes with the most co-stars in the picture, except for maybe John Barrymore. Helen Hayes is effective as the wife as far as that goes. Myrna Loy has a role usually described as `thankless'. Produced by David Selznick, it never appeared on his extensive resume and now can be seen as a very atypical Selznick project, beyond the accumulation of the talent. Undoubtedly the literary inclined Selznick was attracted to the book's having won the prestigious Prix Femina in 1931, though he was more sympathetic to period pieces (Dickens, GWTW) then contemporary drama. Perhaps he had been thinking of his associate at RKO (King Kong) , Air Corps pilot and airline executive Merian C. Cooper. Clarence Brown, who directed Garbo, was one of MGM's most romantic directors, always setting an atmosphere where love either triumphed or ended tragically. One wonders what would have happened if a more consciously `machine age' director like William Wellman or Howard Hawks had shaped the material.

The worst that might be said about NIGHT FLIGHT is to lament what might have been. Narrative techniques common today (and, ironically, during the silent era) would have rendered a more interesting film, though not one suitable for audiences of the time. In other words, a disappointment but not a terrible film by any means. The real curiosity is why it's never revived on Turner Classics which presumably owns both a print and the rights. I suspect that there may be a question as to the underlying rights to St. Expury's Vol de Nuit that might be responsible.

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