Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Buddy Film, Romantic Adventure  |   Run Time - 121 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Brendon Hanley

Only Angels Have Wings exemplifies the complex, taciturn male bravado common to the films of Howard Hawks. Unfairly lumped into the genre of the airborne drama, it is one of Hawks' more neglected films. An experienced pilot himself, Hawks based Angels on real people and events from his time spent on the airfields; his brother was killed in a plane crash. Cary Grant plays the courageous, fatalistic lead, and Jean Arthur is the typical Hawksian heroine, strong with a subversive, gender-bending edge. Supporting player Rita Hayworth became a major Hollywood star after Angels. The film would receive a wartime update as 1942's The Flying Tigers.