Parachute Jumper

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Parachute Jumper
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alfred E. Green
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck (uncredited)
Written by Rian James (story)
John Francis Larkin
Starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Bette Davis
Frank McHugh
Music by Leo F. Forbstein (Orchestra conductor)
Cinematography James Van Trees
Editing by Ray Curtis
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates January 28, 1933
Running time 65 minutes (also listed as 70 and 73 minutes)
Country United States
Language English

Parachute Jumper is a 1933 black-and-white drama film starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Bette Davis and Frank McHugh. It was based on a story by Rian James entitled "Some Call It Love".


Bill Keller (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) and "Toodles" Cooper (Frank McHugh) move to New York after leaving the United States Marine Corps. Unemployed and almost out of money, they meet blonde Southerner Patricia "Alabama" Kent (Bette Davis). Keller convinces her to share their apartment to save on expenses.

Keller narrowly escapes death when he parachute jumps for some money. Next, he becomes the chauffeur for Mrs. Newberry (Claire Dodd), the mistress of gangster Kurt Weber (Leo Carrillo). Eventually, Keller and Cooper become entangled in Weber's schemes, getting them in trouble with the law.


As appearing in screen credits (main roles identified):[1]

Noted movie pilot Paul Mantz was in charge of the aerial photography, undertaking a number of stunts that included two aircraft flying in close formation.


Of the many films she had made, Bette Davis rated Parachute Jumper "dead last". More than problems with the screenplay, she saw her character as another in a long line of insignificant roles that were not furthering her career, and complained strenuously to Jack Warner.[2]

With aviation as the theme, Hollywood movie pilot Paul Mantz was successful in obtaining the contract to provide the flying sequences.[3] The aircraft used were the Buhl CA-6 Airsedan, Curtiss Fledgling, Fairchild 71 and Stearman C3R.[4]


Mordaunt Hall, reviewer for The New York Times, called it "a fast-moving tale of adventure in the air and on earth ..."[5] That review summed up the format of crime and adventure in the air that had been explored in a number of other films of the period.[6] In a later review, Leonard Maltin called it a "Fast-moving, enjoyable Warner Bros. programmer."[7]

In popular culture[edit]

Clips of Parachute Jumper are featured in the prologue of the first film version of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) as an example of the supposedly poor quality of the film work of Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) as an adult.[2]



  1. ^ "Parachute Jumper (1933): Full credits." IMDb. Retrieved: August 15, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Carr, Jay. "Articles: Parachute Jumper (1933)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: August 15, 2013.
  3. ^ Wynne 1984, p. 138.
  4. ^ "Parachute Jumper". Aerofiles. Retrieved: August 15, 2013.
  5. ^ Hall, Mourdant. "Parachute Jumper (1933); Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Frank McHugh teamed in a story of adventures in air and on earth." The New York Times, January 26, 1933.
  6. ^ Farmer 1984, p. 30.
  7. ^ "Leonard Maltin Movie Review: Parachute Jumper." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: August 21, 2013.


  • Farmer, James H. Broken Wings: Hollywood's Air Crashes. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Pub Co., 1984. ISBN 978-9-999926-515.
  • Wynne, Hugh. The Motion Picture Stunt Pilots & Hollywood's Classic Aviation Movies. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing, 1987. ISBN 0-933126-85-9.

External links[edit]