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The real founders of the buddy film James Cagney and Pat O'Brien after making their debut in Here Comes the Navy essentially reprise their roles in Devil Dogs of the Air for the Marines.
O'Brien is the no-nonsense flight instructor for the Marines who's written to an old Brooklyn pal James Cagney urging him to join the Corps. Cagney is a circus flier who pretty much knows the flying game inside out.
But he's Cagney and of course he KNOWS he knows it. That does not make for good discipline. But it does make for good raffish, knockabout comedy that Cagney/O'Brien films are known for. Of course there's a girl involved, in this case Margaret Lindsay. Need I say who she winds up with.
The only jarring note in this film is Frank McHugh. During the hey day of the studios, I think Warner Brothers was incapable of making a film without either Frank McHugh or Alan Hale. I usually enjoy Frank McHugh, but in this film he's downright annoying. He's in the medical corps and frustrated because he feels his training is being wasted because no one is ever injured in a crash or otherwise. McHugh is positively ghoulish in awaiting some accident to befall SOMEONE in the film.
However James Cagney is his usual cocksure and charming best and that carried a lot of Warner Brothers films to profit. We the audience profit also by that bouncy Cagney charm.
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