Men Against the Sky
|Men Against the Sky|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Leslie Goodwins|
|Produced by||Howard Benedict|
|Written by||John Twist (story)
|Music by||Frank Tours
|Edited by||Desmond Marquette|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Release date(s)||September 6, 1940 (USA)|
|Running time||75 minutes|
Men Against the Sky is a 1940 drama starring Richard Dix and written by Nathanael West and based on a story by John Twist. Directed by Leslie Goodwins, this film deals with the dangers of flying and aircraft development in the period before World War II.
Phil Mercedes (Dix), who was once a record-setting pilot, is an aging, alcoholic, aeronautics show performer. While inebriated, he crashes his stunt plane into a barn and is grounded for a year. His sister Kay (Barrie) is his only means of support, who hopes to land a job as a draftswoman for Martin Ames (Taylor), the chief engineer for Dan McLean (Lowe), an airplane manufacturer that hopes to win a big contract with the government given the war in Europe. Though Kay is not a very skilled draftsman, she shows Ames some drawings with creative designs, from Phil, that interest him. Preliminary tests of the aircraft prove disastrous, but Phil establishes the viability of his designs by flying the experimental aircraft himself, which restores his damaged reputation.
- Richard Dix - Phil Mercedes
- Kent Taylor - Martin Ames
- Edmund Lowe - Daniel M. 'Dan' McLean
- Wendy Barrie - Kay Mercedes, aka Kay Green
- Granville Bates - Mr. Burdett
- Grant Withers - Mr. Grant
- Donald Briggs - Dick Allerton
- Charles Quigley - Flynn
- Selmer Jackson - Capt. Sanders
- Lee Bonnell - Capt. Wallen
Paul Mantz, noted movie "stunt" pilot was the aviation consultant on the film. Also notable is the use of footage of the experimental Hughes H-1 Racer during its trials.
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times in a contemporary review, characterized Men Against the Sky as a "generally entertaining little action picture," though he criticized its "maudlin heroics", the storyline which was "routine and obvious" and the performances that were no better than "stock and pedestrian."
- Crowther, Bosley. "Men Against the Sky (1940)." nytimes.com, New York Times, September 12, 1940. Retrieved: March 15, 2009.
- Wynne, H. Hugh. The Motion Picture Stunt Pilots and Hollywood's Classic Aviation Movies. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1987. ISBN 0-933126-85-9.