|Index||4 reviews in total|
I thought the story line quite engaging, the acting quite good, and the
special effects excellent for the era and , I suspect, limited budget.
All the details were quite accurate and the comments of the other
reviewers display an unfamiliarity with the Boeing airliner in question
which certainly had emergency hatches as that which ward Bond opened in
his effort to remove ice on the plane's antenna wire. In fact it
displayed in detail how he had to unbolt the hatch.
Considering what was accomplished with limited resources I gave the film nine stars. That lovely view of the classic coffin nose Cord roadster posed in front of the Boeing is worth the price of admission.
Another of a unconnected (but never ending) series of air minded
pictures made by RKO. This Air Soap Opera crams all the plot lines of
the developing Air Industry. They are building the new transport
system, making it dependable and safe. No tolerance for the flying by
the seat of your pants and the integration of women (stewardess, now
flight attendants) into what was then a all masculine business.
Stalwart Robert Armstrong is the best and always dependable lead pilot with Ward Bond as his sidekick. Sally Eilers as the stewardess that you wished existed, available, attractive and competent. They are followed by the flys in the ointment. Charley Grapewin who owns the airline and his spoiled son played by Vinton Haworth. Just looking at Haworths character and the word 'Weasel' instantly springs to mind. We don't think we need to go further then to say Grapewin insists that Armstrong take his loser son under his wing. This creates tension between Eilers and the two (2) male principals and ends rather badly for one (1) of them.
This type of plot would be used in any of the 'B' air films of Columbia, RKO, Universal and Warner Brothers of the period. We have not checked but believe the screen writers were either jumping from studio to studio or just did not give a damn what was stolen from who. Never the less this is an enjoyable and quick film.
Without Orders (1936)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Yet another RKO "B" picture about pilots. This time out Robert Armstrong plays a pilot who falls for a stewardess (Sally Eilers) but she's in love with the plane owners rich son. Oh yeah, there's also a murder subplot. This film runs just 65-minutes but it's pretty dull the entire way through. The only saving grace are some truly stupid movies like a plane, which allows passengers to open the windows and stick their heads out. Armstrong is usually pretty reliable but here he's wasted in a thankless role and Eilers is more obnoxious than anything else. The one interesting thing is the ending, which seems to have been copied by one of the Airport films. Lew Landers directs.
Some movies require an awful lot of suspension of disbelief. In this
one, you have to believe in a passenger plane where the windows open,
and where the co-pilot would be daft enough to stick his head and hands
out the window (in the midst of a raging blizzard in mid-flight); you
also must believe that there are super-observant folks on the ground,
hearing the motor of a aircraft, know to call Amalgamated Aircraft to
tell them that there's a lost aircraft buzzing around the Idaho skies;
and you must believe, that stalwart Robert Armstrong just happens to
have a bunch of good buddies who can whip up a landing strip just a few
miles away from our lady in distress. There are many others
(particularly in the last 15 minutes). Somebody could have fun whipping
up a list.
But one really should just watch the movie. This is a pretty strong B, with good performances by Robert Armstrong (subdued here) and Sally Eilers, playing a nice gal who falls for the spoiled son of her airline's head. The emotional arc of the story (and there is a strong one) gets a viewer through the parade of plot and technical absurdities. Worth seeing -- and, incidentally, Eiler's performance in the ending scenes of the movie are worthy of Joan Crawford or Bettie Davis highlight reel.
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