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Test Pilot (1938)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  22 April 1938 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,365 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 11 critic

Jim is a test pilot. His wife Ann and best friend Gunner try their best to keep him sober. But the life of a test pilot is anything but safe.

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(screen play), (screen play), 6 more credits »
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Title: Test Pilot (1938)

Test Pilot (1938) on IMDb 7/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jim
...
Ann
...
Gunner
...
Drake
Samuel S. Hinds ...
General Ross
Marjorie Main ...
Landlady
Ted Pearson ...
Joe
...
Mrs. Benson
Louis Jean Heydt ...
Benson
Virginia Grey ...
Sarah
Priscilla Lawson ...
Mable
Claudia Coleman ...
Mrs. Barton
Arthur Aylesworth ...
Mr. Barton
Edit

Storyline

Jim Lane is a test pilot, whose professional life is dangerous, and whose personal life compensates for that danger by fast living and recklessness. As such, he lives from paycheck to paycheck, and is often in debt, but knows his lucrative job will eventually get him out of those debts. On a coast to coast record attempt speed flight, Jim's plane, the Drake Bullet (named after the company's owner), hits some mechanical problems and Jim is forced to make an emergency landing on a farmer's field in Kansas. The farm belongs to the Barton family, whose straight talking daughter, Ann Barton, falls for Jim, and visa versa. They impulsively decide to get married and live in New York. Jim's sidekick and mechanic, "Gunner" Morris, doesn't know if Jim and marriage go hand in hand, both because of the type of person he is and his profession. Ann too soon learns that she plays second fiddle to Jim's work, she referring to the sky as Jim's mistress. Ann also truly comes to understand the dangers ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pilot | marriage | danger | mechanic | farm | See All (15) »

Taglines:

The greatest cast, the grandest romance, the most amazing adventure thrills ever photographed -- all combined to give you the biggest picture that M-G-M ever made! Eight hundred airplanes! Cast of thousands! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 April 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Testpilot  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The aircraft that Clark Gable tested and ripped the wings off was a Northrop Gamma, Northrop serial numbers 189 through 290, U.S. Army Air Corps designation A-17A with serial numbers 36-162 to 36-261. These aircraft were ordered in December 1935 and were delivered between August 1936 and December 1937. In 1932, Northrop had become a subsidiary of the Douglas Aircraft Company and in 1937, it was reorganized as the El Segundo Division of Douglas. One hundred twenty nine A-17As were ordered but only 93 served with the Army Air Corps for 18 months. The 93 were released for sale to France in 1940 and refurbished by Douglas; 61 were transferred to the Royal Air Force after France surrendered to the Germans and were named Nomad Mk. I. The RAF considered these aircraft as obsolete and 57 were assigned to the South African Air Force as trainers. The remaining 32 went to the Royal Canadian Air Force and served exclusively for training purposes as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. See more »

Goofs

Jim Lane is seen with a bottle of champagne in one hand, a glass in the other. He pours himself a glass of champagne and starts to say a line of dialogue; the camera angle changes before he finishes his sentence, but now the bottle and the glass have suddenly switched hands. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Thousands Cheer (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Quarter Deck
(uncredited)
Music by Kenneth Alford
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Impressive for 1938
8 March 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've only seen this movie twice, but I guess I forgot how good the dialogue is until I watched it the second time the other day. Most films from around this time were teetering on the B edge, but this one is very well done. Mostly, though, it was the way the script was written (or the way they ad libbed it) that really made the movie. It's clever but not overdone and definitely not sappy. The way they talk to each other, especially Ann and Gunner, works in such a way as to keep you guessing and not having any idea what they may say next. I was not expecting to see that but it's very effective. Most of the rest of the movies from this genre were your stereotype typicals, and you don't get into this kind of dialogue until well into the 40s and on into the 50s. I was impressed.

Loy and Gable work very well together and don't leave anything to be desired. The chemistry, as they say, is obvious. I don't know of any other movies they starred in together, but I'm definitely going to look! Spencer Tracy shows his vesatility in this one, and his humor is one of my favorite things about him. All said and done, I'll be watching "Test Pilot" again and again and recommend it to old-movie fans.


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