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Aviator Jim Blaine and his brother Neil are rivals not only as daredevil flyers, but also for the love of parachutist Jill Collins.


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Cast verified as complete

James 'Jim' Blaine
Jill Collins
Neil 'Bud' Blaine
Mr. Blaine
Eddie Hughes
Mrs. Blaine
Havana Airport Manager
Amarillo Airport Manager
Man in Wreck (scenesDeleted)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert W. Craig ...
Chef (scenesDeleted)
Swarthy Man (scenesDeleted)
Undetermined Role (scenesDeleted)
Amarillo Weatherman (uncredited)
Hotel Maid (uncredited)
Doctor (uncredited)
Amarillo Pilot (uncredited)
Harry Depp ...
Hotel Telephone Operator (uncredited)
James Donlan ...
Havana Driver (uncredited)
Hotel Desk Clerk #3 (uncredited)
Man Looking for Driver (uncredited)
Amarillo Pilot Crossing Fingers (uncredited)
Little Girl in Wreck (uncredited)
Harrison Greene ...
Pomona Air Circus Announcer (uncredited)
Amarillo Radio Operator (uncredited)
Havana Air Port worker (uncredited)
Train Porter (uncredited)
Frances Miles ...
Mother of Little Girl in Wreck (uncredited)
John 'Skins' Miller ...
Hotel Desk Clerk #2 (uncredited)
Havana Airfield Official (uncredited)
Havana Pilot (uncredited)
Drunk in Wreck (uncredited)
Radio Operator (uncredited)
Scotty Armstrong (uncredited)
Russ Powell ...
Chef (uncredited)
Hotel Desk Clerk #1 (uncredited)
Havana Mechanic (uncredited)
Harry Semels ...
Havana Airfield Worker (uncredited)
Havana Pilot (uncredited)
Duke, Airplane Ticket Agent (uncredited)
El Paso Craps Shooter (uncredited)
Man in Wreck (uncredited)
Lucille Ward ...
Waitress (uncredited)
Co-Pilot in Wreck (uncredited)
Charles Williams ...
El Paso Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Air Show Observer (uncredited)
Jack Wise ...
Amarillo Airport Clerk (uncredited)

Directed by

William A. Wellman
Alfred E. Green ... (uncredited)

Written by

Rian James ... (screenplay) &
Jack Moffitt ... (story "Hawk's Mate") &
James Seymour ... (screenplay)

Produced by

Hal B. Wallis ... producer (uncredited)

Music by

Howard Jackson ... (uncredited)
Bernhard Kaun ... (uncredited)

Cinematography by

Sidney Hickox ... (as Sid Hickox)

Film Editing by

James B. Morley ... (as James Morley)

Art Direction by

Jack Okey

Costume Design by

Orry-Kelly ... (gowns)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Dolph Zimmer ... assistant director (uncredited)


Paul Mantz ... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Frances Miles ... stunt performer (uncredited)
Mary Wiggins ... stunt performer: parachute jumps (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Elmer Dyer ... aerial camera operator (uncredited)

Music Department

Leo F. Forbstein ... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
Cliff Hess ... composer: stock music (uncredited)

Other crew

Fred Jackman ... technical effects
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot Summary

Commercial pilot Jim Blair is blackballed after his plane crashes in a thunderstorm. Depressed, he begins working as a bank teller until he meets beautiful Jill Collins, a barnstorming parachutist working with her daredevil pilot brother. Jim's immediately attracted, and when her brother's killed in a freak crash, he reveals his past to her and volunteers to replace her dead sibling in their air carnival act. As they tour throughout the Southwest, their affection turns physically intimate when they're on the road as they characteristically sleep in adjoining hotel rooms. Jill wants marriage but is resisted by Jim, who believes that his risky lifestyle precludes the luxury of a wife and family. When Jim's brother Bud joins them, he too is immediately attracted to Jill but respects his brother's relationship, However, after another freak accident puts Jim in the hospital for a prolonged convalescence, Jim returns to find them married and in bed together. Angry and bitter, he becomes a soldier of fortune and loses an eye and a leg flying for the Communist rebels in China and Chile. After a prolonged estrangement, a chastened Jim goes to Cuba to rejoin Bud and Jill but finds his brother's plane has gone down in a storm in the Gulf of Mexico. With only a short window of opportunity to save Bud and his passengers, Jim volunteers to go into the storm to save his brother. Written by

Plot Keywords
Taglines A Man's Courage and a Woman's Faith Put to the Supreme Test See more »
Parents Guide Add content advisory for parents »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Aeropuerto Central (Spain)
  • O Rei do Espaço (Portugal)
  • Skyernes søn (Denmark)
  • Atração dos Ares (Brazil)
  • Ala errante (Italy)
  • See more »
  • 72 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $365,000 (estimated)

Did You Know?

Trivia According to an interview with William Wellman, Jr. in the special features for the DVD of "The High and the Mighty," his father used John Wayne as a stuntman in this film. See more »
Goofs When the camera moves from a position between Sally Eilers' and Richard Barthelmess' hotel rooms to the left, her room can be seen from his, revealing the missing fourth wall of the set. See more »
Movie Connections Edited into Spills for Thrills (1940). See more »
Soundtracks Taps See more »
Quotes Hotel Desk Clerk #3: [phoning Jim's room to complain about the noise] The woman over you is complaining.
James 'Jim' Blaine: [sarcastically] Well, tell her I'll be right up.
See more »

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