Flight Angels (1940)

Mary Norvell (Virginia Bruce) is a stewardess for a commercial airline. Despite the occasional grumpy passenger and bad weather, Mary enjoys her job, and she’s quite good at keeping her passengers happy.

(Image via Pinterest)
(Image via Pinterest)
Chick Farber (Dennis Morgan) is a womanizing pilot for the same airline. He seems to have a gal waiting for him in every city, but he’s secretly in love with Mary. They frequently fly together.

Artie Dixon (Wayne Morris), Chick’s co-pilot, has big aspirations. He and Chick are working together to design a brand new type of airplane that will revolutionize the industry. Artie’s devotion to his career angers his stewardess sweetheart, Nan (Jane Wyman), who wants nothing more than to get married.

Romantic and career complications ensue in 1940’s Flight Angels, directed by Lewis Seiler. The screenplay was written by Maurice Leo from a story by Jerry Wald and Richard Macaulay.

Flight Angels is as much about the general lifestyle and culture of aviation workers as it is about the lives and romances of its central characters. A good deal of time at the beginning of the film is spent on one flight that encompasses the ups-and-downs of this line of work. A pregnant passengers goes into labor, two grumpy older men get into an argument about indigestion, and the pilots face a short landing in heavy fog.

During that first flight I wondered whether the film was some sort of propaganda for joining the ranks of stewardesses. The dialogue is pretty contrived at times, and for a moment I felt a little bit like I was watching a commercial. The feeling of artificiality never fully leaves the film, but improvement is made when Jane Wyman enters the picture in the spunky (and scrappy) character of Nan, and as *SPOILER ALERT* Chick deals with being grounded due to bad eyesight. *END SPOILER*

(Image via TMDB)
(Image via TMDB)
One of the best aspects of the film its cast. Despite that issue of sometimes-stiff dialogue, the pairs of Virginia Bruce/Dennis Morgan and Wayne Morris/Jane Wyman are fun to watch. Bruce and Morgan share a few very sweet scenes and have a believable, unexaggerated chemistry. Morris and Wyman have more of a love-hate relationship but are a very amusing pair, adding some comic relief to the film (which actually gets very dramatic as it moves along).

Flight Angels is an interesting watch for those curious about the lives of pilots and stewardesses. It’s also an engrossing, light drama with some romance and humor incorporated. I enjoyed it, overall. The score: 3/5

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