The Sky Pilot (1921)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Run Time - 63 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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"Sky Pilot" was early 20th-century slang for a preacher man. The title character, played by John Bowers, arrives in the rough-and-tumble Canadian Northwest, where he is mercilessly ragged by the two-fisted frontiersmen. Bowers proves his mettle by besting burly ranch foreman David Butler (later a top Hollywood director) in a fistfight. Later on, Bowers rescues Butler's girlfriend Colleen Moore from a cattle stampede. The girl is apparently crippled for life in the crush, whereupon the angered townsfolk, holding Bowers responsible, burn down his church. In the film's heart-pounding climax, Moore demonstrates her love for Bowers--and her overcoming her handicap--in a spectacular fashion. While filming The Sky Pilot on location, Colleen Moore enjoyed a brief fling with director King Vidor. Years later, when Moore and Vidor were both in their eighties, the two one-time lovers rekindled their romance. Alas, John Bowers was never to enjoy a ripe old age; his suicidal walk into the sea in the early 1930s was immortalized in both the 1937 and 1954 versions of A Star is Born. Sky Pilot was based on the popular novel by Ralph Connor.

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Keywords

bad-guy, cowboy, damsel-in-distress, good-guy, barnstorming, church, father, girl, sky, youth