13 user 4 critic

Flying High (1931)

An eccentric inventor and his new flying machine are the focus of this musical comedy.


Charles Reisner (as Charles F. Reisner)


Buddy G. DeSylva (book) (as George G. De Sylva), Lew Brown (book) | 5 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Bert Lahr ... Rusty Krause
Charlotte Greenwood ... Pansy Botts
Pat O'Brien ... Sport Wardell
Kathryn Crawford ... Eileen Smith
Charles Winninger ... Doctor Brown
Hedda Hopper ... Mrs. Smith
Guy Kibbee ... Mr. Smith
Herbert Braggiotti Herbert Braggiotti ... Gordon
Gus Arnheim Gus Arnheim ... Gus Arnheim - the Orchestra Leader
Gus Arnheim and His Orchestra Gus Arnheim and His Orchestra ... Gus ArnHeim's Orchestra (as Gus Arnheim and his Orchestra)


An eccentric inventor and his new flying machine are the focus of this musical comedy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The World's Two Daffiest Comics Raise Cain in a Riotous Spress of Fun, That is Universally Proclaimed The Craziest of All Screen Frolics. (Print Ad- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, ((Pittsburgh, Penna.)) 30 January 1932) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The $500 Pansey pays to get a man equates to over $8,200 in 2021. See more »


Tom Kennedy is menacing Bert Lahr because he threw an oil-soaked hat in his face. Pat O'Brien intervenes and punches oil-smudged Tom Kennedy in the stomach. Pat's cheeks are clean. Cut to Tom doubling over. Cut back to Pat with an oil smudge on his right cheek, even though Tom never touched him. Bert enters the shot offering Pat a hammer. Pat says "That's all right." Cut to long shot of Tom retreating and Pat wiping his face. No smudge in next close-up. So it appears there was more to the fight, but it was edited out. See more »


Doctor Brown: For somersaults and tailspins I have to test your nerves. I must see just how good you are on curves.
Chorus Girl: Oh, we're very good on curves.
See more »


Edited into Plane Nuts (1933) See more »


We'll Dance Until the Dawn
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Sung by Kathryn Crawford and chorus and danced by the chorus in a production number
Footage later used in Plane Nuts (1933)
See more »

User Reviews

Who'd have thought it, an aero-copter
5 June 2011 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

For those who only associate Bert Lahr with The Wizard Of Oz this film from MGM gives one a chance to see him repeating his role on Broadway from one of the many shows he starred in. Lahr other than The Wizard Of Oz was far more a success on Broadway than on the big screen.

Flying High ran for 355 performances on Broadway during the 1930-31 season and on Broadway Lahr's co-star was Kate Smith. Lahr's barbs whether they came in the script or were ad-libbed for the performance about fat girls caused some wounding to Kate. It was here she decided that radio would be her best medium of expression.

Rawboned Charlotte Greenwood of the Bruce Lee like kicks in her dancing takes Kate's role and she's looking for a husband and she'd like to settle a dowry on him. Lahr becomes the object of her attentions. And Lahr needs the money in order to help his partner and friend Pat O'Brien promote the aero-copter that Lahr's invented.

DeSylva, Brown and Henderson wrote the Broadway score which was completely chucked for the film with new songs by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields. I was disappointed not to hear items like Without Love and Thank Your Father on the screen. Nothing memorable came from Fields and McHugh.

Busby Berkeley did the choreography and there is a definite hint as to what would be coming in the way gaudy numbers like in his Warner Brothers period.

Pat O'Brien played Bud Abbott in this film, but Lahr's comedy style was more like Curly Howard than Lou Costello. During the Thirties, O'Brien was a fast talking promoter of something even if it was himself until he slowed down the pace to a crawl when he played a priest. O'Brien was new on the big screen himself after playing Hildy Johnson in The Front Page.

Flying High didn't quite weather the transfer from the Broadway stage to the big screen. Still it's a chance to see a Broadway hit with its original star and that's rare enough for the era this film came out in.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 13 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

14 November 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

George White's Flying High See more »


Box Office


$634,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed