|Directed by||William A. Wellman|
|Produced by||William A. Wellman|
|Written by||Byron Morgan
William A. Wellman
|Music by||Marlin Skiles|
George B. Meehan, Jr.
|Edited by||Al Clark|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|September 24, 1946|
Gallant Journey is a 1946 American historical film directed by William A. Wellman and starring Glenn Ford, Janet Blair, Charles Ruggles. The film is a biopic of the early U.S. aviation pioneer John Joseph Montgomery. It depicts his efforts to build and fly gliders, from his childhood through to his death in 1911. The Columbia Pictures movie debuted in San Diego, California on September 4, 1946. The chief stunt pilot for the film was Paul Mantz. It is also known as The Great Highway.
The story picks up as Father Dick Ball in San Diego, California, tells the story of his childhood friend, John Joseph Montgomery, who was the first American to ever fly a glider plane in 1883. As early as 1879, John told his girlfriend Regina Cleary about his dreams of flying, although his family was very much opposed to this idea and considered him a fool. Regina believed in him, and secretly supported his work, until the first test flight in 1883, which was successful. John named his flying machine "aeroplane".
When John's prominent father, Zachary Montgomery, who had become Assistant Attorney General of the United States, and was keen on keeping his reputation intact, got news of his son's endeavors, he told him to stop his foolishness and continue his clergy studies instead.
Father Ball became interested in John's work and supported his invention ambitions. Another priest, Father Kenton, turned out to be an aviation enthusiast, and helped John with his work, arranging a job at a Santa Clara workshop.
John continued his work for a few years, and built several model planes, preparing for a full scale test flight. The only thing standing in his way is a medical condition making him dizzy and causing him to collapse. He is told by a doctor that he will never be able to fly safely suffering from this illness. John is disappointed, but his confidence is renewed when he encounters the parachute enthusiast and performer Dan Mahoney, who offers to pull the glider plane up in the air with his hot air balloon. The two fathers help John to complete a successful test flight with his new glider plane. Unfortunately his poor finances prevent him from pursuing his passion for flying any longer, even though many people show their interest in his work.
A series of misfortunes and unfortunate events serve as additional discouragement for John, when Dan crashes and dies during a test flight, and an earthquake destroys his glider plane. Still John manages to scrape together $25,000 by selling his valuable belongings. He marries Regina, but is later dragged to court by a man who claims to be the rightful owner of an object John sold to get his money. The lengthy trial consumes all of John's money, but the judge rules in his favor at the end.
John decides to give flying one more go and builds his own new glider plane. He decides to fly it himself. In mid-air he gets a dizzy spell, loses control over the plane and crashes to the ground. He dies from his injuries a few hours later.
- Glenn Ford as John J. Montgomery
- Janet Blair as Regina Cleary
- Charlie Ruggles as man in park
- Henry Travers as Thomas Logan
- Jimmy Lloyd as Dan Mahoney
- Charles Kemper as Father Dickie Ball
- Arthur Shields as Father Kenton
- Willard Robertson as Zachary Montgomery
- Selena Royle as Mrs. Zachary Montgomery
- Robert DeHaven as boy
- Gallant Journey at the Internet Movie Database
- Review of Gallant JourneyFlight 16 January 1947
- Photos of Janet Blair from Gallant Journey and other 1940's films by Ned Scott