Ceiling Zero (1936)

Genres - Drama, Romance, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Ceiling Zero is an adaptation of the Broadway play by Frank "Spig" Wead. James Cagney and Pat O'Brien are supremely typecast as, respectively, Dizzy Davis, a cocky civil aviator and Jake Lee, a sober-sided ground commander. Dizzy ducks out of a dangerous mission in order to dally with pretty Tommy Thomas (June Travis). Texas Clark (Stuart Erwin) takes Dizzy's place, and the unpolished young pilot dies in a fiery wreck. Disgraced in the eyes of his co-workers after Clark's death, Dizzy redeems himself by taking a crucial test flight in fog-laden "ceiling zero." Dizzy dies a hero, leaving behind his pal Jake to deliver the eulogy. Isabel Jewell co-stars as Clark's wife, given yet another opportunity to shake the rafters with her emotionally supercharged acting. Ceiling Zero was remade in a wartime setting as International Squadron (1940).

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Keywords

pilot, test-flight, commander, death, squadron