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This one has some things going for it. I think it was probably meant to be a B film, but there are two stars who have good careers later that show up in almost throwaway roles - Rosalind Russell and Robert Taylor.
Plus you have some veteran actors - Lewis Stone as the general in charge of "West Point of the Air" and James Gleason who is always great as the wise guy plays good friend to Beery's "Big Mike" Stone. Then there is Wallace Beery, who is actually the star of the film, as a guy who never makes it past sergeant but is dedicated to the Army's aerial force from its infancy. Poor Beery. Sound was the best thing that ever happened to his career with his great growly voice and the production code was the worst thing that ever happened to it, with him being forced out of the "bad guy who may or may not want to make good" roles into gentler parts that just did not play to his strengths.
There are actually two male leads here - Beery as Big Mike and Robert Young as his son, little Mike. The film starts out as the army experiments with different plane designs. Skip (Maureen O'Sullivan), and Phil (Russell Hardie), are the children of Lewis Stone's character, who thus grow up with Big Mike's son, Little Mike (Robert Young). Of course, children play these parts in the beginning, not the actors I have just mentioned.
Well the story skips up to present day and Little Mike has turned into a cocky self-important pill. He is a hero on the football field in college, and just assumes that will translate into being a hero in the Army air corps. Actually it translates into tragedy after tragedy as he ignores the rules and gets people killed, badly injured, and even manages to foul up dad's career. Then something worse than being a pill happens to "Little Mike". He becomes paralyzed with fear after all of the things that happen and tells dad he will never fly again. Unfortunately the air corps are on maneuvers and are counting on him to fulfill an important job when he makes this unilateral decision. The other complicating factor is that Skip loves Little Mike although Mike only has romantic eyes for Russell's character, a party girl who encourages Mike to stay up late, drink, etc.
I'll let you watch and see how this one turns out. It was probably made just to see how some of this new MGM talent would do in a production that probably didn't matter much to MGM's bottom line, but it has pretty good action scenes, good performances, and is the first blush of what will become a staple later on in the late 30's and throughout the 40s - films that celebrate the military. They become much more common after Hitler becomes a tangible threat to the United States and the rest of the world for that matter.
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