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
The "Drake Bullet" was a Seversky Model SEV-S2, civil registration NR70Y but wearing NR23655. In 1935, Seversky was concentrating on winning a contract from the U.S. Army Air Corps, and as a result, the company developed a prototype pursuit plane, the SEV-1XP (which became the Army Air Corps' P-35). The SEV-1XP was fitted with a new tail and re-engined with a Pratt & Whitney R-1830B radial engine and redesignated SEV-S1, it was flown by Frank Sinclair at the 1935 Nationals Air Races held in Cleveland, Ohio. Seversky then developed a racer from the P-35, the aircraft lacked all military equipment and was fitted with a lower canopy. Designated SEV-S2 and flown by Frank Fuller Jr., the aircraft was very successful in the 2,042 mile (3,286 kilometer) Bendix Trophy Races at Cleveland. This aircraft placed first in the 1937 and 1938 races. Reportedly the aircraft was sold to Ecuador. See more »
When Jim Lane sits the landlady down to talk to her about rent arrangements, he reaches out and holds her with his arms outstretched. On his left arm (closest to the camera), his wristwatch is alternately covered with his shirt cuff, then uncovered and visible, then covered, between shots. See more »
" I have come to the conclusion, that all test pilots should be bachelors "
Victor Fleming directed this film called " Test Pilot " and although it is remade several more times, each has it's own quirks. In this version we have Clark Gable, playing Jim a fun loving, joy seeking test pilot out to tame a plane and the sky-mistress. Spencer Tracy, plays Gunner he dutiful, loyal side kick who tries to play guardian angel over his reckless best friend. Myrna Loy is Ann a beautiful farm's daughter who becomes his girl and later his wife. With Lionel Barrymore playing Drake, his employer, the film dwells mostly on the personal relationship between the main characters and their ambitions. As such the movie is a soft but lofty tribute to foolhardy aviators and dwells painfully on the personal aspects between those who fly and those who expect the inevitable disastrous outcome of a failed aircraft. Though Tracy and Gable are a great team in other movies, they seem at odds in this one. Still, for an early war time propaganda film, it's acceptable, but hardly a classic for either star. ***
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