Monday, December 7, 2015


There was a number of military aviation films back in the late 1920's/early 1930's...THE FLYING ACE (1926), WINGS (1927), THE FLYING FLEET (1929), HELL'S ANGELS (1930), THE DAWN PATROL (1930) and HELL DIVERS featuring top-billed Wallace Beery and a young pre-mustache Clark Gable.

Wallace Beery is the top dog in a fighting squadron of dive bombers, so when a new guy (Gable) comes in and wins the "champion machine gunner" title he gets butthurt.  It also doesn't help that Wallace is a total screw-up.  Always drinking and partying, borrowing money non-stop, lying, randomly punching people.  He's not a pleasant guy to be around.  Because of this, Gable and Beery are constantly butting heads.

Life goes on.  The squadron train in their dive bombers and eventually fly down to Panama to do some more training over the water.  Throughout it all Beery and Gable are at eat others throats.  It's tiresome.  After awhile you learn that the story is unimportant and the real entertainment is in all of the vintage footage of the old airplanes, Navy ships and even a Zeppelin!

Moderate pace, severely dated story, annoying "Aw, shucks!" acting by Beery (who I usually like), exciting aerial scenes.  Overall, it's a watchable movie, just very dated.  Aviation and military nuts will get a kick out of the planes and stuff but the average moviegoer will probably be bored.

Would make an interesting double-feature with 1941's DIVE BOMBER.  It even looks like they used some of the same filming locations.  Also planes in both films feature a top hat painted on the side.
Somebody is dangling off the side.

Jack Pennick