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Test Pilot (1938)

Passed  -  Drama | Romance  -  22 April 1938 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,251 users  
Reviews: 24 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), 3 more credits »
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Title: Test Pilot (1938)

Test Pilot (1938) on IMDb 6.9/10

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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
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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 more »

Taglines:

I Can't Quit . . . I'm a Test Pilot See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 April 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Testpilot  »

Company Credits

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 four engine bomber flown by Gable and Tracy near the end of the film is one of thirteen Y1B-17 (model 299B) Flying Fortresses. The Model 299 prototype had crashed on October 30, 1935. Almost all of the Y1B-17s assigned to the 2nd Bomb Group appear flying in formation at the end of the film. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Kojak: Dead on His Feet (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)
(1922) (uncredited)
Written by Fred Fisher
Sung a cappella a bit by Clark Gable
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What Would You do if Clark Gable Landed in your back yard?
19 December 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Clark Gable is the one in the title role and Spencer Tracy is his best friend and mechanic. Test Pilot portrays a footloose and fancy free Gable doing a dangerous job because he's entranced by the beauty and danger of flying. Tracy is along to give him a reality check every now and then.

While trying for a coast to coast record Gable has trouble with a fuel line and has to make a landing in a Kansas wheat field that just happens to belong to Myrna Loy's parents. She's the farmer's daughter all right. Of course a little of that Gable charm and she's off in the wild blue yonder with him and spends the rest of the film worried about his daredevil behavior. She's not in Kansas any more.

This was the second of the three Gable/Tracy co-starrers. All three of them, San Francisco, Test Pilot, and Boom Town have withstood the test of time and have become classics.

Test Pilot's original story was written by Frank "Spig" Wead who's life story was brought to us in the film Wings of Eagles. Wead was a flyer himself until a fall in his home left him a paraplegic. After that he became a writer and several of his stories were filmed. In fact Gable and starred in Night Flight earlier on which was written by Wead. Of course Wead had a great feel for the type and character of the people who chose aviation as a career.

The aerial sequences are first rate and the players settle comfortably in their parts. It's got aerial action for the guys and romance for the gals. How can you go wrong?


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