It matters not at all that the famed "wrong way" flight of aviator Douglas Corrigan, who in 1938 tried to fly from New York to California by way of Ireland, was probably a carefully calculated publicity stunt. The end result was that Corrigan became a household name, and as such was an ideal candidate for film stardom. RKO Radio shelled out a considerable amount of money to purchase "Wrong Way" Corrigan's life story, enhancing the publicity value of the resultant The Flying Irishman by casting Corrigan himself in the leading role. It's too bad that the same amount of effort wasn't lavished on the film itself, which is a ponderous, perfunctory tale of a barnstorming flyer who, unable to get a legitmate pilot's job because he never went to college, resorts to a variety of colorful methods to make a living. Like many other non-showbiz celebrities, Corrigan was constitutionally unable to play himself convincingly, so it's up to such supporting actors as Eddie Quillan, Paul Kelly, Robert Armstrong, Donald MacBride and Joyce Compton to take up the slack.
by Hal Erickson synopsis