The Marines Fly High
|The Marines Fly High|
|Directed by||George Nicholls, Jr.|
Benjamin Stoloff (as Ben Stoloff)
|Produced by||Robert Sisk|
|Written by||Jerome Cady|
A.C. Edington (story)
|Music by||Roy Webb|
|Edited by||Frederic Knudtson|
|Distributed by||RKO Pictures|
In 1940, the Central American cocoa plantation owned by American Joan Grant (Lucille Ball) needs protection from bandits led by El Vengador (John Eldredge). She asks the Marines stationed nearby under the command of Colonel Hill (Paul Harvey) for help. Lieutenants Danny Darrick (Richard Dix) and Jim Malone (Chester Morris) fly a mission to seek out the outlaws. Although they have orders to protect her, both men vie for Joan's affection.
John Henderson, the plantation foreman, is really El Vengador. He kidnaps Joan and sets a trap for the Marines he knows will try to rescue her. The two rivals eventually realize that to defeat the enemy, they will have to work together. When Malone is heading for an ambush, Derrick flies to his aid and rescues Joan.
- Richard Dix as Lt. Danny Darrick
- Chester Morris as Lt. Jim Malone
- Lucille Ball as Joan Grant
- Steffi Duna as Teresa
- John Eldredge as John Henderson / El Vengador
- Paul Harvey as Col. Hill
- Horace McMahon as Sgt. Monk O'Hara
- Dick Hogan as Cpl. Ted Haines
- Kirby Grant as Lt. Bob Hobbes (as Robert Stanton)
- Ann Shoemaker as Mrs. Hill
- Nestor Paiva as Pedro Fernandez
Principal photography for The Marines Fly High took place from late October to December 2, 1939, on RKO sound stages. The backlots served as the locale for many of RKO's features set in more exotic locations.[N 2] The use of U.S. Marine aircraft and the ability of both Dix and Morris to look comfortable as pilots led an air of authenticity to the programmer.
The Marines Fly High was a typical B movie whose action scenes received good notices from critics with Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times in a contemporary review, noting the film was "... a comfortably agile adventure story." A more recent appraisal by reviewer Frank Miller likewise described the film as "crammed" with action.
Film historian Richard Jewell in The RKO Story (1982), characterized the screenplay in The Marines Fly High by Jerry Cady and Lieutenant Commander A.J. Bolton as "dull" and "lacklustre".
Aviation film historian James H. Farmer in Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation (1984) noted The Marines Fly High was puncuated by "the quick-paced roar of machine guns, rifles and airplane engines in this low-budget effort (that) fortunately leaves little time for a careful look at the lackluster plot."
- Farmer 1984, p. 319.
- Miller, Frank. "Articles: 'The Marines Fly High' (1940)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: July 9, 2014.
- "Original Print Information: 'The Marines Fly High' (1940)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: July 9, 2014.
- "Bonanza: Scenery of the Ponderosa." homestead.com. Retrieved: July 9, 2014.
- Wynne 1987, p. 174.
- Nugent, Frank S. "Screen: The Marines Fly High."The New York Times, March 5, 1940.
- Jewell 1982, p. 144.
- Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
- Jewell, Richard B. The RKO Story. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1982. ISBN 0-517-54656-6.
- 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.