IMDb > Captains of the Clouds (1942)
Captains of the Clouds
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Captains of the Clouds (1942) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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6.5/10   834 votes »
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Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Arthur T. Horman (story) and
Roland Gillett (story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Captains of the Clouds on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 February 1942 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Inspired by Churcill's Dunkirk speech, brash, undisciplined bush pilot Brian MacLean and three friends enlist in the RCAF but are deemed too old to be fliers. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more »
User Reviews:
The TOP GUN of 1942! See more (23 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Cagney ... Brian MacLean
Dennis Morgan ... Johnny Dutton

Brenda Marshall ... Emily Foster

Alan Hale ... 'Tiny' Murphy

George Tobias ... Blimp Lebec
Reginald Gardiner ... Scrounger Harris
W.A. Bishop ... Himself (as Air Marshal W.A. Bishop)

Reginald Denny ... Commanding Officer
Russell Arms ... Louis 'Alabama' Prentiss
Paul Cavanagh ... Group Captain
Clem Bevans ... Sam 'Store-Teeth' Morrison
J.M. Kerrigan ... Foster
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Dr. Neville (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Patrick O'Moore ... Fyffe
Morton Lowry ... Carmichael
Owen Cathcart-Jones ... Chief Flying Instructor (as S/L O. Cathcart-Jones)
Frederick Worlock ... President of court-martial
Roland Drew ... Officer
Lucia Carroll ... Blonde
George Meeker ... Playboy
Benny Baker ... Popcorn Kearns

Hardie Albright ... Kingsley
Ray Walker ... Mason
Charles Halton ... Supt. Nolan
Louis Jean Heydt ... Provost Marshal

Gig Young ... Student Pilot (as Byron Barr)
Tod Andrews ... Student Pilot (as Michael Ames)
Willie Fung ... Willie
Carl Harbord ... Blake
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
P.G. Abercrombie ... Flying Instructor (uncredited)
Lane Allan ... Canadian (uncredited)
Sam Ault ... L.A.C. Grove - Texan (uncredited)
Barry Bernard ... Gilbert (uncredited)
Wing Commander Brian ... Wing Commander (uncredited)
Walter Brooke ... Duty Officer (uncredited)
James Bush ... Sergeant Pilot (uncredited)
Joseph Carr ... Man (uncredited)
James Craven ... Instructor (uncredited)
Charles De Ravenne ... French Canadian (uncredited)
Leslie Denison ... Flight Lieutenant (uncredited)
Don Dillaway ... Instructor (uncredited)
Tom Dugan ... Bartender (uncredited)
Dave Duncan ... Sergeant-Major (uncredited)
Flying Officer Evans ... Flying Officer (uncredited)
Gerald Fielding ... Flight Lt. Holt (uncredited)

Pat Flaherty ... Drill Sergeant (uncredited)
John Gallaudet ... Colby (uncredited)
Squadron Leader Greene ... Squadron Leader (uncredited)
Herbert Gunn ... Aircraftsman (uncredited)
Tom Hamilton ... Man (uncredited)
Winifred Harris ... Red Cross Collector (uncredited)
John Hartley ... Cranbrook (uncredited)
Stuart Holmes ... Man Entering Hotel (uncredited)
J. Anthony Hughes ... Hunter - RCAF Applicant (uncredited)
Jack Hyde ... Man (uncredited)
Ellis Irving ... Commanding Officer (uncredited)
Charles Irwin ... Chief Ground Instructor (uncredited)
John Kellogg ... Aircraftsman Lawrence (uncredited)
Frank Lackteen ... Indian at Foster's (uncredited)

Harry Lewis ... Mr. Burton - RCAF Applicant (uncredited)
Miles Mander ... Winston S. Churchill (voice) (uncredited)
Anthony Marsh ... Officer (uncredited)
Edward McNamara ... Man Buying Dog Team (uncredited)
Ray Montgomery ... Aircraftsman Hodges (uncredited)
Will Morgan ... Flying Instructor (uncredited)
Gavin Muir ... Orderly (uncredited)
George Offerman Jr. ... Mechanic (uncredited)
George Ovey ... News Vendor (uncredited)
Henry Rowland ... German Pilot (uncredited)
Harry Seymour ... Piano Player (uncredited)
Charles Smith ... Chateau Laurier Bellboy (uncredited)
Sergeant-Major Spratt ... Sergeant-Major (uncredited)
James Stevens ... Indian (uncredited)
Rafael Storm ... Playboy (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Chateau Laurier Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Billy Wayne ... Mechanic (uncredited)

Frank Wilcox ... Flight Lt. Wood (uncredited)
Billy Wilkerson ... Indian at Foster's (uncredited)
Larry Williams ... Duty Officer (uncredited)
Flying Officer Willis ... Liaison Officer (uncredited)
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Directed by
Michael Curtiz 
 
Writing credits
Arthur T. Horman (story) and
Roland Gillett (story)

Arthur T. Horman (screenplay) &
Richard Macaulay (screenplay) &
Norman Reilly Raine (screenplay)

Produced by
William Cagney .... associate producer
Hal B. Wallis .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
 
Cinematography by
Wilfred M. Cline (director of photography)
Sol Polito (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
George Amy 
 
Art Direction by
Ted Smith 
 
Costume Design by
Howard Shoup (gowns)
 
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Frank Heath .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
C.A. Riggs .... sound
 
Special Effects by
Byron Haskin .... special effects
Rex Wimpy .... special effects
 
Stunts
Paul Mantz .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Harvey Parry .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Elmer Dyer .... aerial photographer
Winton C. Hoch .... aerial photographer
Charles A. Marshall .... aerial photographer (as Charles Marshall)
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Owen Cathcart-Jones .... technical advisor (as Squadron Leader O. Cathcart-Jones)
Frank Clarke .... chief pilot: Warner Bros.
Henri Jaffa .... associate technicolor color director
Natalie Kalmus .... technicolor color director
Hugh MacMullan .... dialogue director
 
Thanks
W.A. Bishop .... thanks (as Air Marshal Bishop)
L.S. Breadner .... sincere appreciation: Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Canadian Air Force (as Air Marshal L.S. Breadner)
C.G. Power .... sincere appreciation: Minister of National Defence for Air, Canada (as Major the Honorable C.G. Power)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
114 min | USA:113 min (Turner library print) | Argentina:113 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
John Gillespie Magee, Jr., author of the famous poem, "High Flight," had trained at Uplands. Magee had graduated just a few weeks prior to the commencement of shooting and was on his way to England when the cameras rolled.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When the bombers are being ferried to England and MacLean spots the enemy aircraft high on the port side and flying against the group. A following shot shows the Messerschmidt on the starboard side and flying in the same direction as the group.See more »
Quotes:
Francis Patrick 'Tiny' Murphy:You know MacLean?
Scrounger Harris:Yeah, I've met him, but I don't like him.
Blimp Lebec:You don't like him? You should know how I don't like him!
Brian MacLean:And why do you say that? You know, I've always been very happy to see you. Look at Tiny. He never used to like me. Now he hates me.
[to Willie]
Brian MacLean:Willie!
Willie:Hello! Happy landings!
Francis Patrick 'Tiny' Murphy:[to Blimp and Scrounger] Oh, come on and sit down. Come on, come on here.
[to Willie]
Francis Patrick 'Tiny' Murphy:Listen, Willie, we want four black coffees and some cake.
[...]
See more »
Soundtrack:
Danny BoySee more »

FAQ

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23 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
The TOP GUN of 1942!, 24 July 2004
Author: Gavno (quixote2@ix.netcom.com) from Mad City, Wisconsin

Even tho it's pretty much of a "formula" movie, CAPTAINS OF THE CLOUDS is GREAT fun, and one of my favorite Cagney films. It truth, it's a lot more than that in film history, in addition to having some very intriguing legal ramifications. It contains things that appeal to a wide audience on many levels.

For the airplane nuts out there this one is NOT TO BE MISSED! Many of the aircraft are types that have no other screen exposure, and which today are museum pieces... if examples of them still exist at all. The roster of military and civilian planes makes you DROOL... Tiger Moths (used as RCAF primary flight trainers), AT-6 Texans / Harvards, Lockheed Hudsons, Lysanders (as bush planes), and the most interesting of all... a now EXTREMELY RARE Hawker Hurricane, wearing Nazi markings and playing the part of a Messerschmidt! I suppose the Hayes Office censors kept the script writers from calling it a Fokker, just because THIS cast of reprobates was a wild and crazy enough crew to use that name to try to slip through a few double ententes!

Besides Cagney, the cast is PURE Warner Brothers stock players. Alan Hale always turned in a good performance, and he does it here too as bush pilot Francis Patrick "Tiny" Murphy. Comedic actor Reginald Gardener turns in an excellent, low key performance as "Scrounger", but his subtle comedy is totally upstaged by George Tobias as "Blimp" Lebec, using an absurd mustasche, outrageous costume, and the most outrageous and overblown French Canadian accent ever seen on film!

The story is a combination of wartime flag waver and fairly standard period drama, along with a dash of Saturday afternoon at the movies pot boiler serial thrown in; the final sequence with Cagney versus the Nazi fighter is PURE Hollywood schmaltz, but it's a load of fun.

CAPTAINS OF THE CLOUDS, and the similarly themed A YANK IN THE RAF (Tyrone Power) were the prototypes that set the stage for a hundred other wartime flag wavers yet to come. CAPTAINS was walking into new and unique territory; in theory anyway, Cagney, Hale, Tobias, and every other American involved in the production could have been tried for sedition and imprisoned... oddly enough, for purely patriotic reasons.

At the time CAPTAINS OF THE CLOUDS was filmed, World War 2 was already in progress with the United States remaining on the sidelines as a neutral. Canada, being part of the British Commonwealth, provided assistance to embattled England. Under the terms of the US Neutrality Act, as a combatant Canada was NOT our ally. The provisions of the Act forbade Americans from lending material assistance to Canada, and CAPTAINS OF THE CLOUDS fell into the category of providing propaganda for use by a belligerent nation! According to some sources, the cast and crew were a bit nervous when they crossed the border to return to the United States at the end of filming; the possibility existed that they'd be arrested by Federal agents.

This odd state of political affairs was shown significantly in A YANK IN THE RAF. An early sequence shows American airplanes being provided to Canada by the simple expedient of landing them at the Canadian border, and everyone involved just ignores it as the planes, sans pilots, are pulled away by a stout rope extending across the border into Canada! Such tactics really were employed in the days before Pearl Harbor.

In any case... CAPTAINS OF THE CLOUDS provides it's share of Hollywood ballyhoo too with one of the most campy musical numbers ever made for a movie. In a Canadian nightclub, a male chorus of singing waiters belt out the title song, while cigarette girls in quasi military costume (complete with wings across their blouses) provide a dancing floor show! It's a HOOT!!!

In any event... CAPTAINS OF THE CLOUDS is a snapshot of a simpler time when war wasn't such a contentious matter and the lines between right and wrong were much simpler. It's a good way to spend a couple of hours.

Even if I wasn't such a rabid Cagney fan, I'd still give this one a Thumbs Up!

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