0131: Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings.jpg

Rating:  3/10

This is a movie that suffers just because it’s old. Oh God, does that make me agist? Shit. Anyway, the problem with this movie is that the problems in this movie aren’t really problems anymore. It’s about how dangerous pilots have it, how often they might die just from trying to land on the airport at night or whatever. How flying is so dangerous that Cary Grant won’t take women flying because it’s “too scary.” I’m guessing many of the things mentioned in this movie are true of flying in 1939, but today it’s one of the safest ways to travel and you’re statistically more likely to die from chewing gum. I can understand that maybe it was this dangerous to fly at some point, but this idea is just so old that it would make more sense if it was something like trying to fly in times of war and constantly being shot at rather than flying itself being one of the most dangerous jobs in the world as this movie is trying to convince me. Truthfully, it makes it out as if when you go up in a plane your probably going to die and everyone in the pilot’s club is so used to death they hardly do anything once one of they’re pilot’s crashes on trying to land his plane.

Okay, I would have been fine with that if it didn’t feel more like a history lesson of “see how bad they had it” than an actual movie. It makes me feel more like I’m watching an episode of Deadliest Catch: Planes or something than really seeing a movie with a plot and such. It really seems to be the major draw of this movie is seeing pilots as they tempted death every day. This is interspersed with actual stunt pilots going up in planes and cheating death, so I’m guessing every other pilot they sent up for a stunt died from the lessons this movie has taught me, but at least they got their shot!

Anyway, outside of my problems with the “plot” if you can even call it that, the acting was fine though nothing special. The dialogue was just this side of Passable, though there were many segments that were just long and boring. Attention screenwriters: Don’t write a long speech when just a few words will do! In fact, change that rule to: Don’t ever have characters say more than they have to. Develope characters, sure, but don’t put in extra lines just because you want to fatten up your script. It’s totally noticeable and suspends my suspension of disbelief.

At some point this movie devolves into a romance, and then kind of finds a plot but then it devolves again into a melodramatic soap opera and I don’t think I can recommend it to anyone, really.

I’m giving this movie an extra point for this so I think I should mention it. There was a subplot involving a pilot who ditched his plane when it was going down and doing so doomed his copilot so people didn’t like him at the pilot’s club. His subplot is more interesting than the rest of the movie but unfortunately only takes up maybe 10-15 minutes of screentime in a 2-hour movie. Should have made him the main character, would have been more interesting, **grumble, grumble**

Why you should watch it before you die: Because you want to scare your kids away from flying and you are absolutely sure they can’t just look things up on the internet somehow. I guess if your just that big a fan of seeing old planes flying around, as that is the only really good parts of this movie. You could probably also see those planes on YouTube though.

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