Only Angels Have Wings


Action / Adventure / Drama / Film-Noir / Romance


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December 09, 2014 at 08:50 AM



Cary Grant as Geoff Carter
Rita Hayworth as Judy MacPherson
Thomas Mitchell as Kid Dabb
Jean Arthur as Bonnie Lee
866.99 MB
23.976 fps
2hr 1 min
P/S 1 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Ruby Liang (ruby_fff) 9 / 10

Not just another Hawks and Grant film - it's a lot more than meets the eye

This may be an overlooked Howard Hawks film. It's really a thoughtful film with substance under the guise of Hollywood famous stars and lively screenplay banters. Subject touches on death just 20 minutes into the film. Certainly no dull pacing. It has golden segments, like the exchanges between Grant and Barthelmess, Grant and Mitchell, Mitchell and Arthur, Arthur and Grant, and 10 minutes later, we see people gathered round by the piano singing songs and cajoling - not without sorrow beneath. Be not fooled, sentiments are there for friends passed away. It's not, but it is, a way of handling grief.

It's life, matter of fact and not hung up or lingering, simply moving on, devil may care, with boldness, dare, and risk-woe-begotten (or forgotten, for that matter). Men - one track-minded, to fly to deliver no-matter-what. Women - worry, or why worry. To love the man, much of letting go and let him be comes with the territory, even if it's Jean Arthur or Rita Hayworth. The story revolves around not just Cary Grant's Geoff leading the pack in the Andes, but also Thomas Mitchell's brother gone, Richard Barthelmess' past recur, Rita Hayworth's nostalgic fear, and the spunky, sentimental Jean Arthur's Bonnie wraps it all up. The supporting cast aptly contributes from the restaurant-hotel-mailing service owner, the lively South American accents and melody, to the pilots who are green and know not what peril is, and the lone fog-watcher and his donkey. Secrets revealed, conflicts challenged, and there's a growing promotion of trust through it all. Between business partners, colleagues, friendship or marriage - that unquestionable trust, without asking out loud but understood within - is what life and dare all about.

This film grew on me. I first saw it on cable TCM the latter half and couldn't wait to catch it again for the full story. Screenplay by Jules Furthman, music score by Dimitri Tiomkin, directed and produced by Howard Hawks, "Only Angels Have Wings" 1939 (available on DVD) is full of life, humor, drama, adventurous spirits, and non-stop exchange of word deliveries - entertaining, enjoyable, and heart-warming.

Reviewed by Michael Bo ([email protected]) 8 / 10

It is all about respect

If you ever wondered what all the fuss about Howard Hawks was all about, this is the film to catch. It is a first-hand lesson in what the Hawks universe was all about, and it is unsurpassed entertainment from the word go. Two hours of undiminished tension, action-wise, sexually, whatnot.

New York showgirl Bonnie (Jean Arthur) is on a stop-over in small-town Barrance somewhere in South America. Here she meets Geoff (Cary Grant), the leader of a small band of mail pilots having to cross a perilous mountain pass on a daily basis, and casualties are to be expected. Within little more than ten minutes of screen-time the young man, who had asked Bonnie out to dinner, is dead in a spectacular crash scene, and from there on the plot and the action pick up space. Bonnie is dismayed by the way the dead pilot's colleagues seem not to care about his death, they just go about their business and pretend he was never there in the first place, so as not to be reminded of their own mortality. "Joe died flying", says Geoff. "That was his job. He just wasn't good enough. That's why he got it". Dismayed as she may be, though, Bonnie cannot leave, since she is falling in love with Geoff but fast.

In this confined space, made even more confined by the dense fog and pouring rain that characterize the local climate, the scene is set for one of Hawks' perceptive gatherings of a group of people to have us observe the dynamics of people interacting, different ethos at work in a seemingly laconic male environment, the love, the rivalry, the camaraderie. The fear. Further upsetting the close-knit community is the arrival of a new fryer (Richard Barthelmess in the best performance of his mature years) who has to prove himself doubly because once in his life he turned yellow. With him he has Rita Hayworth, Geoff's old girl-friend ...

This is quintessential Hawks, just in the way that Barthelmess' character has to strive to earn any ounce of respect from his peers. But in every frame it is a deserved classic, and great performances abound.


Reviewed by ccthemovieman-1 8 / 10

A Notch Above The Rest In Its Era

To quote to the movie cliche on the back of the VHS cover, this is old-time adventure, "the kind they don't make anymore."

Well, they've always made good adventure stories through the years but you get the message: it's simply a good, solid story done well on film .

What puts this a notch above other adventure tales of its day are: 1 - excellent cinematography; 2 - interesting aerial scenes with neat-looking planes flying in the fog and around and above the treacherous Andes Mountains; 3 - a top- notch cast featuring Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess, Thomas Mitchell, Allyn Joslyn, Sig Ruman, John Carroll and Noah Beery Jr., and 4 - a story that is generally interesting.

I say "generally" because there are a few dry spots, mainly Arthur's continued pining over Grant, but most of it fun to watch and it gets you involved in the story. Ruman and Barthelmess were especially good in their supporting roles. Hayworth's role, one of her first, was not that much.

In all, a solid adventure-romance tale, and I'm shocked it gets so little attention on this website, with under 20 reviews as of my writing.

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