Flight Angels (1940)
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The other leads are snooze worthy. Dennis Morgan is the lovable rogue again; and Ralph Bellamy is the stuffed shirt again. For once, Virginia Bruce is NOT the scheming blonde, which was her forte in other movies of the time. On the other hand, you gotta love the shiny new propeller planes.
Ronald Reagan married Jane Wyman in 1940, the year this movie was made, and it's easy to see why: she was a real pistol. Her staid, stuffy roles and those hideous bangs came later, in the fifties. GC/BC
It's really no more than a competent programmer designed to give exposure to Morgan and JANE WYMAN who were the studio's busiest contract stars and one can easily see that Olivia deserved better material than this. Wyman has her usual role as the heroine's brassy best friend and Morgan simply dispenses his usual Irish charm with WAYNE MORRIS as co-pilot.
From the very start, it's a compilation of tired clichés, unbelievably vapid dialogue, sexist depiction of females with nothing on their empty minds but fighting over men, and, in general, runs downhill when we're subjected to a lot of silly shenanigans by Jane Wyman, angry with her boyfriend Wayne Morris.
On the serious side, JOHN LITEL gives DENNIS MORGAN an eye exam that shows he shouldn't be flying planes and the rest of the predictable plot deals with Morgan's dilemma. At least the dramatic moments are easier to take than the ill advised attempts at comedy.
Summing up: This one was grounded from the start with a worthless script.
Featuring a dated storyline and a plethora of uncomfortably sexist themes, the plot is rife with stereotypes from the time in our history prior to U.S. involvement in World War II, when women presumably had nothing to look forward to besides finding a man that would marry them.
The story is about a couple of womanizing pilots (Dennis Morgan and Wayne Morris) who, despite the fact that they have "women in every port", have two devoted stewardess girlfriends (Virginia Bruce and Jane Wyman, respectively). The pilots are also working on the latest high altitude, 30% faster airplane for their boss Ralph Bellamy who, like a lot of the other roles he's played, is the third man out in a love triangle (with Morgan and Bruce). The drama concerns Morgan's character getting eye trouble, diagnosed by a doctor (John Litel), which jeopardizes his future as a pilot.
Though I've already given the salient plot points, and because I found them so offensive, I thought I'd detail some of the more objectionable stereotypes one finds in this movie:
Chick (ha ha) Farber (Morgan) is seen kissing one gal while trying to board the plane he's to fly with Artie Dixon (Morris) and stewardess Mary Norvell (Bruce). When he successfully frees himself from her, he's met by another which he'd apparently been with 2 hours before that, and all this is witnessed by his girlfriend Mary.
On the flight, Mary is seen to be too ditsy to remember which passenger needed a bicarbonate of soda while she refuses to introduce the pilots to the "fresh meat", a stewardess trainee also on the flight. A laughing Dick Elliot plays one of the passengers. Some drama and repetitive dialogue ("I never had that pulled on me before") is introduced by having a woman give birth on the airplane. Bill Graves (Bellamy) at first doesn't believe what his flight crew has told him, but eventually he gets Dr. Barclay (Litel) to meet the plane when it lands.
Once on the ground, the stewardesses are shown to be women that are just bidding their time until a pilot or a rich passenger ask for their hand in marriage. Bellamy's character is shown to be interested in Bruce's, who naturally prefers Morgan's, despite the fact of his philandering. We're then introduced to Nan Hudson (Wyman), who's likewise "hooked" on Morris's character.
Though Wyman's character has some sassy dialogue, she's wasted in this film and her character is likewise inflicted with "helpless without a wedding ring" syndrome. Morgan and Morris aren't just pilots, they're engineers and mechanics who designed, and are building, the next great airplane for Bellamy.
Meanwhile, the silly females have "cat fights" over the men. One of Ms. Bruce's rivals is played by Margot Stevenson; another of the stewardesses (Dorothea Kent) has a cartoon character voice. Ironically, Grace Stafford, who went on to voice animated Woody Woodpecker, is also in the cast.
When Morgan's character is diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition, he's grounded by Litel's and Bellamy's characters, and is offered a position training the stewardesses. Naturally, these women are so overcome by his good looks that they can't concentrate on their studies and he's too frustrated with the position to keep doing it. He's also quick to discard his new bride Bruce.
Shown to be lacking the kind of judgment required by real pilots, the former barnstormer Morgan "steals" their new plane, taking it up for its test flight, after he'd learned that another (John Ridgely) was hired to replace him. Some really low budget special effects are used but, naturally, everything works out well in the end for all concerned.