So is Richard Barthelmess, as a top aviator with a tainted past.
Jean Arthur, in an atypical role, manages to be skittishly charming as an entertainer waiting for a boat out of town (attracted to Grant, she never leaves), and Rita Hayworth is sympathetic and impossibly pretty in her first attention-getting role, as Barthelmess’s wife and Grant’s former flame.
Hawks approached directing with the rigor and excitement aviation demanded.
He had already made two top-notch flying pictures before he was ready to sum up all he knew about life and art in the air and on the ground.
is a precursor to a Robert Altman film in its bursts of rapid-fire, overlapping dialogue and its offhanded tragicomedy and improvisational snap.
In place of plot, Hawks and his favorite screenwriter, Jules Furthman, set up a succession of comic and dramatic situations that pop with laughs, thrills, and frissons.
This new 4K restoration of provides the perfect occasion to appreciate Hawks both as an artist and an entertainer.
It’s the most amiable great movie ever made, thanks to the director’s hard-edged eagerness to please and pinpoint comic-dramatic control—a personal existential statement and a delightful piece of showmanship.
But in Grant serves as the core of a group character—a close-knit, rambunctious fraternity of fliers.
The film’s action hinges on two deaths in the company.