Skywayman (1920)

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"Safety second is my motto" -- so said daredevil pilot Ormer Locklear. After doing his duty as an aviator in World War I and performing an array of frightening flying stunts in Hollywood for nearly a year and a half, Locklear's motto came back to haunt him when, on August 2, 1920, he was killed during the filming of this picture. Unfortunately the story and stunts aren't worthy of his legend. Locklear plays Captain Norman Locke, who returns from the Great War with an injury that has caused him to lose his memory. He doesn't recognize his folks or his girl, Virginia (Louise Lovely), so Dr. Leveridge (Sam deGrasse) offers to try to cure him. The good doctor, however, is a bad guy -- he wants Virginia all to himself and fully intends this "treatment" to result in Locke's death. A few knocks on the head later, however, Locke's memory really does returns and Dr. Leveridge kills himself. The aeroplane stunts performed here by Locklear are daring to be sure -- he battles a carload of villainous types from his craft, he leaps from his flying machine to a train, sends it into a flaming tailspin, etc. -- but he'd done all this, and more dangerous stunts, before. Fox, the producing studio, donated ten percent of the picture's profits to the families of Locklear and his hapless pilot.

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Keywords

pilot, daredevil, injury, memory, doctor, flying, love, medical-treatment, patient [medical], stunt-flying, bad-guy, deception, war, death, suicide, train [locomotive]