Ken Gordon (Cary Grant) is an engineer who has devoted himself to creating new technology that will allow flights to be much safer in poor weather conditions. To test his theory that a pilot can fly blind and still fly safely, he plans to take a blind flight across the Atlantic himself.
When journalist Nick Williams (Roscoe Karns) publishes a story about the flight prematurely, Ken loses the funding that would have allowed him to complete the flight. And then, in an ironic twist of fate, Ken is literally blinded in an accident in his workshop.
Before being blinded Ken met Sheila Mason (Myrna Loy), a skilled pilot who is used to completing dangerous stunt flights. With her help, he may be able to continue his risky but important research.
James Flood directs 1935’s Wings in the Dark. The screenplay was written by Jack Kirkland (Tobacco Road) and Frank Partos (The Snake Pit), from Dale Van Every (The Talk of the Town) and Earl H. Robertson’s adaptation of “Eyes of the Eagle” by Nell Shipman and Philip D. Hurn.
Myrna Loy is the real stand-out of this film, and her character is fantastic. Sheila is a witty, intelligent, courageous and independent lady. She effortlessly holds her own and carries out dangerous plane stunts as well as any male pilot could. Romance does play a large part in the film, but Sheila is painted as a woman whose life does not revolve around it, which is something I always love to see in movies (though I love me a cheesy rom-com, too).
Cary Grant, of course, is as wonderful as ever in this film (and incredibly handsome).
The script is quite melodramatic and contains a lot of clichés, but Grant and Loy are so great as individual performers and as a pair that they elevate the material. Both give solid performances and many of their scenes together, especially in the second half of the film, are full of emotion. They always made a great screen pair, whether in the somewhat tragic drama of this film or in more light-hearted fare like Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.
There is also great tension during the flight scenes that also bolsters the film’s impact and watchability.
Wings in the Dark appears on DVD in the Cary Grant Screen Legend Collection boxed set, and it’s one of the best films in the set. Fans of Loy or Grant will enjoy it, as will fans of the drama genre in general. The score: 4/5