6.9/10
484
5 user 7 critic

Ceiling Zero (1936)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 16 January 1936 (USA)
War veteran pilots Dizzy Davis, Texas Clark and Jake Lee are working in an airline. Dizzy is fooling with one of the younger pilot's girl-friend and due to this, he changes flights with ... See full summary »

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(play), (screenplay)
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1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Texas Clarke
...
Henry Wadsworth ...
Tay Lawson
Martha Tibbetts ...
Mary Miller Lee
...
Lou Clarke
...
Joe Allen
...
Smiley (as Dick Purcell)
...
Eddie Payson
...
Fred Adams
Garry Owen ...
Mike Owens
Edward Gargan ...
Doc Wilson
Robert Light ...
Les Bogan
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Storyline

War veteran pilots Dizzy Davis, Texas Clark and Jake Lee are working in an airline. Dizzy is fooling with one of the younger pilot's girl-friend and due to this, he changes flights with Texas. Texas' plane crashes attempting to land on their airfield under extremly bad weather circumstances, he is killed in this accident. Dizzy feels guilty for his friend's death and takes the next flight under even worse circumstances, testing a new anti-ice device on the plane. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

16 January 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brume  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank "Spig" Wead who wrote both the original Broadway play and the screenplay for this film, would later be portrayed by John Wayne in the John Ford film "On Wings of Eagles". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Let's Stalk Spinach (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Dear Old Pal of Mine
(uncredited)
Music by Gitz Rice
Lyrics by Harold A. Robe
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User Reviews

 
Tension level high, altitude zero through most of this film
5 July 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film stays mainly on the ground rather than in the air, probably because it was originally a stage play. The action focuses on the Newark, New Jersey branch of fictitious Federal Airlines and its employees, who are exclusively involved in delivering the mail.

Pat O'Brien plays Jake Lee, the fast talking hard-nosed operations manager of the Newark branch. The industry is one in transition as the WWI flying aces and barnstormers that once dominated as air mail pilots are being slowly replaced with "college men" - engineers. Enter James Cagney as Dizzy Davis who is one of those old aces - if you can possibly imagine the energetic James Cagney as somebody who's on the verge of being all washed up at anything in 1935. Jake, Dizzy's old WWI flying buddy, has gotten him a job at the Newark office as Dizzy is on the verge of losing his pilot's license as he has a bad ticker and a bad attitude when it comes to following all of the new rules that did not exist when he first started out in the business.

There are romantic complications too. Touchiest of these is the fact that Jake's wife of two years, Mary, was serious about Dizzy right before she met Jake. This is information Dizzy and Mary desperately want to keep from Jake in order to spare his feelings. There's also a new female pilot at the Newark branch, Tommy, all of 19, who catches Dizzy's eye. Tommy has a steady boyfriend, but she's fascinated by this older experienced WWI ace and his exciting stories and lifestyle.

Dizzy is a fellow on the move with him chasing Tommy and age and the odds chasing him, and then there's Mike, an old ace Dizzy's age who cracked up in a wreck. His bones healed but his mind didn't, and Dizzy is horrified to see his old mirror image turned simpleton and janitor. It's unspoken, but you just know that Dizzy sees his own possible future when he looks at the guy.

The film is a real edge-of-your-seat experience, even though almost all of the action is on the ground as pilots fly in "ceiling zero" weather, and some make it back alive and some don't. It's an exciting little movie with a look at the state of flight technology in 1935. Highly recommended.


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