Howard Hawks' Only Angels Have Wings - DVD review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by SteveGon, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
    Directed by Howard Hawks
    Only Angels Have Wings isn't talked about very much anymore and that's a shame as it's a very entertaining entry in the Hawks canon. Set in South America, the story concerns a group of daredevil pilots whose job seems to consist solely of flying over the Andes mountains in perpetually inclement weather. Cary Grant stars as Geoff Carter, their hard-as-nails boss who co-owns the air service with Dutchy (Sig Ruman), a genteel old man who constantly spars with Geoff over his willingness to risk the lives of his men. As the movie begins, the macho lifestyle of the airmen is thrown for a loop when showgirl Bonnie Lee (Jean Arthur) disembarks from a ship for some sightseeing. Pilots Les (Allyn Joslyn) and Joe (Noah Beery, Jr.) immediately decide to compete for her affections but their romantic aspirations are cut short when Geoff shows up with the news that one of them must undertake a dangerous mission - a mail delivery in increasingly foggy weather. Needless to say, the flight is ill-fated which leaves an opening for Bat McPherson (Richard Barthelmess), a just-arrived and much-despised pilot with a reputation for cowardice. Bat brings with him not only his past, but his beautiful wife Judy (Rita Hayworth) who once had a relationship with Geoff. Hated by the other pilots, Bat soon gets the chance to prove his worth when a delivery of nitroglycerine must be made. Meanwhile, Bonnie makes the decision to stay based on her growing affection for the reluctant-to-commit Geoff and the air service faces bankruptcy. To complicate matters more, Geoff must make a hard decision concerning his best friend Kid Dabb (Thomas Mitchell), a long-time pilot whose eyes are going bad. This leaves Geoff short a pilot which gives him the chance to show off his own mettle as a flier. But can he come to terms with his feelings for Bonnie?
    Only Angels Have Wings is typical of Hawks, full of tough men and feisty women. It's an exciting film laced with comic touches and surprises. The flying sequences, while obviously done with models, hold up fairly well and manage to elicit quite a bit of tension.
    The print used for this Columbia Classics DVD edition was in pretty good shape and the transfer is quite nice. There is a bit of grain, but it never becomes distracting. Blacks are deep and rich with good contrast and detail. Joseph Walker's fine black and white cinematography is well-served here. The mono soundtrack is always clear and audible though you may want to turn it up a notch. Overall, there is nothing to complain about concerning the presentation.
    Extras include brief filmographies, trailers, and a small selection of vintage movie posters.
    Running time: 121 minutes.
    Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.
    Film rating: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Disc rating: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    This is a must-have for fans of Howard Hawks. Check it out!
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Steve,
    This 1999 dvd release was one of the better ones involving classic films before the studios started doing better quality work when releasing their older films on dvd. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it.





    Crawdaddy
     
  3. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Thanks, Robert. I'm only sorry I waited so long to pick it up. They really don't make 'em like this anymore! [​IMG]
     
  4. BrianP

    BrianP Supporting Actor

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    I am glad to see this thread posted since somehow I missed this DVD release. You can get this movie through Columbia House as an enrollement title and save quite a bit of money. They have a code at DVDTalk were you only need to purchase three movies with no further obligation. End up paying about $8 per DVD. Otherwise this is a $20 movie.
     
  5. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    This film has been on my wishlist for sometime.
    Perhaps I'll bump it up now that I know the DVD is a nice presentation. Thanks, Steve. [​IMG]
     

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