Level headed Mike Miller runs Desert Airport, an air mail base full of daring young pilots risking their lives to get the mail through-regardless of the weather. Following the death of one pilot in a horrific crash, Miller is forced to engage the wild and arrogant, yet skillful, Duke Talbot. When pilot Dizzy Wilkins crashes and dies in a storm, Talbot runs off with the young Mrs.Wilkins, leaving Miller to complete the last leg of Wilkins' mail run. Miller crashes on a mountain. Alive but in an inaccessible location, Miller tries to endure his injuries while futile attempts are made by air mail pilots to rescue him. Hearing of the impossibility of reaching Miller's crash site in time to save him, Talbot can't resist the challenge of trying an airborne rescue himself.Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At the time of the film's production, Universal built a special stage to film miniature scenes. A gantry was constructed above the stage so a model biplane could be 'flown' over a huge miniature set. The stage is still on the Universal lot and is numbered 27. The stage also contains a large water tank. At one time it was known as the John Fulton Stage since when the stage was built, Fulton was in charge of all visual effects for Universal. See more »
Although John Ford was one of the top directors of his time, he apparently didn't always get prime opportunities to helm movies-- particularly earlier in his career. Despite making such prestigious films as "The Iron Horse" and "3 Bad Man" and dozens of other films, here Universal Studios hired him to direct a film which is not much better than a B-movie--passable entertainment and worth seeing but otherwise unremarkable.
The film is set in an airport in the desert and Mike (Ralph Bellamy) is in charge of this airmail operation. However, the job is dangerous and they keep losing people. So, when they are down a man he hires an unlikely guy, Duke (Pat O'Brien). He's unlikely because Duke is a top pilot...one of the world's best...and why would he get involved with such a dangerous and thankless operations? Plus, as the film progresses, it becomes obvious that Duke is a total jerk-- only interested in himself and certainly not a team player. So how is Duke going to rise to the occasion and prove himself to be something more? See the film...or not.
This film is unusual because the part Pat O'Brien plays is very much unlike his usual nice-guy persona. It's also unusual because the film plays a lot like Howard Hawks' film "Only Angels Have Wings" but isn't nearly as good nor as well acted. Passable and predictable entertainment...the sort of film John Ford could have directed in his sleep.
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