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Jimmy Cagney plays (what else) a brash young flier who is convinced by his buddy, Pat O'Brien, to enlist in the US Marine flying school. Once there, he initially makes a nuisance of himself and even tries to horn in on O'Brien's girl--creating a lot of tension. The trouble is that Cagney is so talented and amazing as a flier that everyone but O'Brien soon forgets his initially brash ways. Will the friendship fizzle for good, will Cagney and O'Brien both prove themselves and rise above it all AND who will cute Margaret Lindsay fall for by the end? You'll just need to tune in to forget.
While I will admit that the plot of this film is highly reminiscent of many Warner Brothers and Jimmy Cagney films (such as CAPTAINS OF THE CLOUDS), it also is quite entertaining and very exciting to airplane buffs like myself. Because of this, I liked it quite a bit and another person could easily dismiss it as "just a piece of fluff"--which, at times, it unfortunately is. However, watching the great aerial stunts, seeing the US Navy dirigible, ships and early airplanes was quite a thrill for me and really kept my attention. In many ways, it's a great companion piece to a film he made shortly before this, HERE COMES THE NAVY. Not surprisingly, the plots are somewhat similar, but HERE COMES THE NAVY offers even more amazing scenes--dirigibles in closeup scenes as well as being set aboard the ill-fated USS Arizona (which was destroyed at Pearl Harbor less than a decade later).
So, for aerial buffs, I'd give this an 8. For the rest, a 6. Splitting the difference, a 7 seems appropriate.
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