6.9/10
1,979
34 user 15 critic

Test Pilot (1938)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 22 April 1938 (USA)
Jim is a test pilot. His wife Ann and best friend Gunner try their best to keep him sober. But the life of a test pilot is anything but safe.

Director:

Victor Fleming

Writers:

Vincent Lawrence (screen play), Waldemar Young (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A dead World War II bomber pilot named Pete Sandidge, becomes the guardian angel of another pilot, Ted Randall. He guides Ted through battle and helping him to romance his old girlfriend, despite her excessive devotion to Sandidge's memory.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Irene Dunne, Van Johnson
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two rival newsreel photographers join forces to find the an aviatrix's missing brother, who has disappeared in the Amazon rainforest.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Walter Pidgeon
Boom Town (1940)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two buddies who rise from fly-by-night wildcatters to oil tycoons over a twenty year period both love the same woman.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert
The Citadel (1938)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Andrew Manson (Robert Donat), a young, enthusiastic doctor takes his first job in a Welsh mining town, and begins to wonder at the persistent cough many of the miners have. When his ... See full summary »

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Robert Donat, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Richardson
San Francisco (1936)
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Barbary Coast saloonkeeper and a Nob Hill impresario are rivals for the affections of a beautiful singer, both personally and professionally in 1906 San Francisco.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Spencer Tracy
Men in White (1934)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An idealistic doctor must make some hard choices between his dedication to the profession and his personal life.

Director: Richard Boleslawski
Stars: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Jean Hersholt
Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

This send-up of ragtime song and dance begins in 1915 San Francisco when society boy Roger Grant decides to pursue popular rather than serious music.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche
Boys Town (1938)
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a death row prisoner tells him he wouldn't have led a life of crime if only he had had one friend as a child, Father Edward Flanagan decides to do something about. An advocate of child... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Henry Hull
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Army generals struggle with the decision to prioritize bombing the German factories producing new jet fighters over the extremely high casualties the mission will cost.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Clark Gable, Walter Pidgeon, Van Johnson
Libeled Lady (1936)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee, a down on his luck reporter, hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth in order to prevent a high-society woman from suing for libel.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy
Saratoga (1937)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After winning a stud farm in lieu of gambling debts, bookie Duke Bradley turns an eye to the daughter of the now deceased gambler and her millionaire fiancée.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Adam Lemp, the Dean of the Briarwood Music Foundation, has passed on his love of music to his four early adult daughters - Thea, Emma, Kay and Ann - who live with him and his sister, the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Claude Rains, John Garfield, Jeffrey Lynn
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clark Gable ... Jim Lane
Myrna Loy ... Ann Thurston Barton
Spencer Tracy ... Gunner Morse
Lionel Barrymore ... Howard B. Drake
Samuel S. Hinds ... General Ross
Marjorie Main ... Landlady
Ted Pearson ... Joe
Gloria Holden ... Mrs. May Benson
Louis Jean Heydt ... Greg Benson
Virginia Grey ... Sarah
Priscilla Lawson ... Mabel
Claudia Coleman ... Mrs. Frank Barton
Arthur Aylesworth ... Mr. Frank Barton
Edit

Storyline

Jim Lane is a test pilot, whose professional life is dangerous, and whose personal life compensates for that danger by fast living and recklessness. As such, he lives from paycheck to paycheck, and is often in debt, but knows his lucrative job will eventually get him out of those debts. On a coast to coast record attempt speed flight, Jim's plane, the Drake Bullet (named after the company's owner), hits some mechanical problems and Jim is forced to make an emergency landing on a farmer's field in Kansas. The farm belongs to the Barton family, whose straight talking daughter, Ann Barton, falls for Jim, and visa versa. They impulsively decide to get married and live in New York. Jim's sidekick and mechanic, "Gunner" Morris, doesn't know if Jim and marriage go hand in hand, both because of the type of person he is and his profession. Ann too soon learns that she plays second fiddle to Jim's work, she referring to the sky as Jim's mistress. Ann also truly comes to understand the dangers ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

YOUR GREATEST SCREEN THRILL IN 10 YEARS! (original ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Testpilot See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The aircraft that Clark Gable tested and ripped the wings off was a Northrop Gamma, Northrop serial numbers 189 through 290, U.S. Army Air Corps designation A-17A with serial numbers 36-162 to 36-261. These aircraft were ordered in December 1935 and were delivered between August 1936 and December 1937. In 1932, Northrop had become a subsidiary of the Douglas Aircraft Company and in 1937, it was reorganized as the El Segundo Division of Douglas. One hundred twenty nine A-17As were ordered but only 93 served with the Army Air Corps for 18 months. The 93 were released for sale to France in 1940 and refurbished by Douglas; 61 were transferred to the Royal Air Force after France surrendered to the Germans and were named Nomad Mk. I. The RAF considered these aircraft as obsolete and 57 were assigned to the South African Air Force as trainers. The remaining 32 went to the Royal Canadian Air Force and served exclusively for training purposes as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie, the "Drake Bullet" plane which Jim Lane is piloting springs an oil leak, which blows back on the cowling and side of the plane, clearly staining it with black oil. However, when we see the plane land in the Kansas wheat field and taxi to a stop, the side of the plane now has no signs of any oil stains whatsoever. But when the camera angle goes to a close-up of Jim climbing out of the plane, varying degrees of the oil stains on the side of the plane are again visible. See more »

Quotes

Ann Thurston Barton: You're a funny looking gazabo
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Thousands Cheer (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

The Prisoner's Song (If I Had the Wings of an Angel)
(1924) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Guy Massey
Sung a cappella by Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and others
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Great Love Story
25 August 2013 | by atlasmbSee all my reviews

Test Pilot surprised me with how good it is. As a love story, I rank it right up there with The Way We Were.

Clark Gable plays a test pilot, Jim, who lives hard and fast. Like many who live on the edge, he is superstitious and has an addictive personality. To cope with the risks he must take, he never deals with his feelings and drowns his fears in excesses of liquor and women.

Then he meets Ann, played by Myrna Loy--a fresh-faced, wisecracking Kansas girl who falls hard for the guy. Likewise, he falls for her and before you know it, they are married.

After they are married, Ann learns quickly what life with Jim must be like. It is a harsh reality that she cannot shake; she loves the mug.

Jim's sidekick is Gunner, a guy who also loves him but has learned to cope with Jim's short-sighted view of life. When Ann enters the picture, it becomes more than he can bear; he can endure his own pain, but cannot stand to witness hers.

We see a love story that can only end in pain, made all the more painful because all three characters are lovable.

The writing in this movie is among the best I have seen. There is not a false note in the entire film. It's difficult to write this kind of banter without making it seem false or shallow. Later in the film, when the going gets tougher, the writing conveys the feelings deep within even when they are talking only about the mundane.

It has been written that Myrna Loy liked this film best of all she acted in. Personally, I would give her the Best Actress award for this performance, though she was not even nominated.

Gable holds his own. And Tracy plays Gunner with a convincing subtlety.

Victor Fleming, who directed The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind the very next year, had another winner in this one. I am surprised it does not get much mention.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 34 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed