|AIR MAIL (director: John Ford; screenwriters: Dale Van Every/Frank W. Wead/story by Frank W. Wead; cinematographer: Karl Freund; editor: Harry W. Lieb; cast: Ralph Bellamy (Mike Miller), Pat O’Brien (Duke Talbot), Slim Summerville (Slim McClune), Russell Hopton (Dizzy Wilkins), Gloria Stuart (Ruth Barnes), Lilian Bond (Irene Wilkins), William Daly (Tex Lane), Frank Albertson (Tommy Bogan), Leslie Fenton (Tony); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Carl Laemmle Jr; Universal; 1932)|
aerial photography shots are superior."
by Dennis Schwartz
An early John Ford ("The Iron Horse"/"The Searchers"/"Arrowsmith") aerial action pic that examines heroism back in the day. It's based on a hard-boiled but routine story by Lieut, Commander Frank W. Wead, and is co-written by Wead and Dale Van Every. The aerial photography shots are superior, as are the realistic atmosphere shots created around the airport.
small Desert Airport, in the Rocky Mountains, is
managed by the level-headed Mike Miller (Ralph
Bellamy), who is in charge of a
group of daredevil pilots who risk their lives daily
for low pay to deliver the mail in all kinds of
conditions. The story revolves around the conflict
between the cocky, braggart and reckless new young
pilot Duke Talbot (Pat
O’Brien) and his more conservative
boss Mike. Because Duke is a womanizer and is
arrogant, Mike can't stand him even though he's the
pilot, Dizzy Wilkins (Russell Hopton),
dies in a crash during a snowstorm, Mike, despite eye
trouble, must take over the mission in another plane
because Duke refuses to go and quits. Mike crashes on
the side of an inaccessible mountain, but somehow
survives with only a broken leg. Duke hears this on
the radio and steals a plane to rescue Mike and
deliver the mail to the next airport. Duke had run off
with Dizzy's unfaithful wife Irene (Lilian
Bond) to elope after hearing her
hubby died in a crash.
a hero, Duke comes across as an unsympathetic cad who
is hard to like even if he is brave.
REVIEWED ON 4/6/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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