29 user 17 critic

Night Flight (1933)

Passed | | Drama | 6 October 1933 (USA)
Polio breaks out in Rio de Janeiro, the serum is in Santiago and there's only one way to get the medicine where it's desperately needed: flown in by daring pilots who risk the treacherous weather and forbidding peaks of the Andes.


Clarence Brown


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (novel), Oliver H.P. Garrett (screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
John Barrymore ... Riviere
Helen Hayes ... Simone Fabian
Clark Gable ... Jules Fabian
Lionel Barrymore ... Insp. Robineau
Robert Montgomery ... Auguste Pellerin
Myrna Loy ... Wife of Brazilian Pilot
William Gargan ... Brazilian Pilot
C. Henry Gordon ... Daudet
Leslie Fenton ... Jules' Radio Operator / Co-Pilot
Harry Beresford ... Pierre Roblet
Frank Conroy ... Radio Operator
Dorothy Burgess ... Pellerin's Girlfriend
Irving Pichel ... Dr. Decosta
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Worried Mother
Buster Phelps ... Sick Child


Polio breaks out in Rio de Janeiro, the serum is in Santiago and there's only one way to get the medicine where it's desperately needed: flown in by daring pilots who risk the treacherous weather and forbidding peaks of the Andes.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


So big and compelling, so filled with tense emotion, studded with stars. that no lover of motion pictures would want to miss it! (Print Ad-Leader-Post, Regina, Sask.)) 22 March 1934)




Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This was the third film in which Clark Gable appeared with a mustache. Up until this point, the majority of his films showed him clean shaven (with the notable exception of Red Dust [1932]), but the phenomenal success of his next two films, Dancing Lady (1934) and It Happened One Night (1934), solidified the mustache as a trademark of his appearance, and from that point forward he would shave it only when necessary, i.e. for period pieces such as Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). In some cases -- Parnell (1937) and Gone With the Wind (1939) come to mind -- he kept the mustache despite the anachronous implications. See more »


Everyone involved in sending the medicine to Rio de Janeiro is told that it is urgently needed for children in the infantile paralysis ward, that every hour counts. But the package is addressed only to "City Hospital," with no name or even department. See more »


Wife of Brazilian Pilot: What's it all for? Just so somebody in Paris can get a postcard on Tuesday instead of Thursday?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During opening credits, the film title is done as "sky writing" by an airplane, and the plane is just finishing the last "T" on "flight". See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: Super 8 (2011) See more »


How Dry I Am
Sung by Robert Montgomery and Dorothy Burgess
See more »

User Reviews

Not exactly Grand Hotel of the clouds ...
9 October 2011 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

... but interesting and worthwhile just the same. MGM gives this story of early forays into night flight in South America the star treatment, but unfortunately we don't get to see most of these stars do what they do best - interact with one another. John Barrymore, as head of the night flight operation, spends most of his time robotically barking out orders or reproaches. Lionel Barrymore, as the inspector who gets no respect, is very good here, gets quite a bit of screen time, and winds up having a prolonged and interesting scene with Robert Montgomery who plays a young pilot displaying that devil-may-care attitude he was so good at in his early 30's films at MGM.

Helen Hayes, whose most famous film role as Madelon Claudet is no doubt destined to be ignominiously dumped onto DVD-R via the Warner Archive, has lots of screen time here as the wife of a pilot (Jules - played by Clark Gable) who is waiting on her husband to return from his first night flight for a late night celebration supper. As his arrival is delayed more and more throughout the night, so grows her panic.

The oddest thing here is the misuse - or should I say lack of use - of Clark Gable. Throughout the film he is stuck in a plane, mute and motionless. Except for a few log entries that he makes and some of his facial expressions we are really denied a performance here or for that matter, an idea of what is going through his mind.

I'd say it's worthwhile just because it's such an odd departure from what MGM generally did in the 1930's plus it's been locked in the vaults for 75 years due to rights problems. It's interesting to see how Warner Home Video has taken almost a film school approach to what they put out on DVD in the last couple of years. Practically all of their documentaries on film history wind up on pressed DVD, but some pretty entertaining precodes, noirs, and even more modern films such as "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" wind up in the Warner Archive on DVD-R, a medium that doesn't usually have a life span greater than a couple of years.

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Release Date:

6 October 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night Flight See more »

Filming Locations:

Denver, Colorado, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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