In his dedicated pursuit of technology that will aid pilots to safely "fly blind" during adverse conditions. aerial innovator Ken Gordon is literally blinded in an accident, but this setback doesn't deter him from his goal.
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Edward Everett Horton
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Believing a German spy has killed her new husband (Franchot Tone), Suzy, a struggling chorus girl (Jean Harlow) flees to Paris where she meets and marries a WWI pilot (Cary Grant) whose carefree ways brings about unexpected results.
Aeronautical engineer Ken Gordon and his faithful mechanic Mac are devoted to developing technology that will enable pilots to safely fly blind during adverse weather conditions. An irresponsible newsman, Nick Williams, publishes a premature story about a planned long distance flight Gordon hopes will prove his theories. Because of Williams, he loses funding but is introduced to skilled aviatrix Shiela Mason. After Gordon is literally blinded in a workshop accident, Shiela undertakes dangerous stunt flying jobs in order to secretly support Gordon's continuing research. When she undertakes a dangerous Moscow to New York non-stop flight and is in jeopardy of crashing over a fog-bound Roosevelt Field, there is only one person capable of saving her. Written by
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
What are you thinking about?
I was just thinking how crazy I was not to take a good look at you when I had the chance.
Don't you remember at all?
Pretty well, but I'm not sure. Tell me.
Oh, I'm a sort of low wing, single-motored monoplane type. You've seen hundreds of them.
I don't believe it. Tell me more.
Let's see. I have reddish hair, snub nose, freckles, plenty of freckles.
Well, a little under medium length, fair wing spread, stream-lined, so they tell me.
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Loy and Grant as daring pilots falling in love--doesn't get better than that!
Wings in the Dark (1935)
You have to remember what a total thrill it was to fly a single engine plane back in the early 1930s, and even to see airplanes buzzing about in the sky. Of course we still love small airplanes and bushpilots, what we see of them. And we have a fuzzy feeling for that specialty pilot who paints messages in the sky with smoke. The message that starts the movie in the deep blue? "Smoke Flips" including the dot on the I.
Some things have changed, indeed.
This movie has several amazing things going for it, and two of them have names: Myrna Loy and Cary Grant. Myrna is the pilot Sheila Mason who writes the opening cigarette ad overhead, and she's like a small town Amelia Earhart--charming, daring, and a woman in a man's world. Grant plays Ken Gordon, another pilot and an instrument pioneer. Gordon's current trick is to fly "blind" meaning by feel and by instruments, hence the title of the movie--at first. And he wants to fly to Paris. The movie was shot 7 years after Lindbergh's solo flight to Paris, and two years before Earhart's disappearance.
The director is little known James Flood, and he is helped a lot by both the beautiful actors (and their acting) and some really good photography under William Mellor, an unsung mainstay of Golden Age Hollywood. There are lots of strong close ups and good strong graphic designs, including some nice angled shots from high up, as well as some fast moving camera to follow the action. It's a an uncluttered affair, and this draws attention to the acting, which is good. Loy by this point was an established star (she had been in some 80 films by this point). Grant was newish (less than 20, all in three years), and as charming and cute as can be, but playing a more regular guy than usual--not playing "Cary Grant" quite yet.
The movie takes its dramatic turns when Mason (Loy) and Gordon (Grant) interact one on one. First there is a tragedy, then an opportunity. There are some seemingly necessary functional moments in the film, a process of getting through the crisis, but then the movie kicks in again. It's all pretty wild and exciting, actually, if not deep or original. It's got its formula underpinning, but it makes it all fast and emotionally moving, at least for a sucker like me. This is just after the Code kicked in and there is no suggestive or racy behavior, just the new clean romantic drama between two stars who are bound, we hope, to get together by the end.
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