Flying High (1931)

78 or 80 mins | Musical comedy | 14 November 1931

Director:

Charles F. Reisner

Producer:

George White

Cinematographer:

Merritt Gerstad

Editor:

William S. Gray

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The title card in the onscreen credits reads: "George White's Flying High." HR pre-production news items note that John Gilbert was originally set to star in the film, and that Martin Broones was set to adapt and supervise the production. HR pre-release news items list actors Tom McGuire, Tommy Conlon and Harry Watson in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to the Var review, forty women and sixteen men comprised the chorus and danced in the film's two dance numbers. Although a HR pre-production news item noted that six or eight songs were being prepared for the picture, only three songs were featured, and of those three, only one was taken from the original musical comedy. The Var review notes the following information about the production: George White, who produced the Broadway hit Flying High , received a credit in this picture as a result of his contract with M-G-M; Bert Lahr made his film debut in this picture, reprising his role from the Broadway stage production; and the unusual sound effect used in the scene where the aerocopter descends was also used in the M-G-M film Trader Horn (see below). According to censorship material in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in Jan 1931, the MPAA insisted that M-G-M remove from the script an examination scene in which Rusty is shown pouring liquor into a test tube. In a letter dated 11 Jan 1931, a Hays Office representative stated that in addition to the examination scene, there were "other extremely offensive vulgarities ... More Less

The title card in the onscreen credits reads: "George White's Flying High." HR pre-production news items note that John Gilbert was originally set to star in the film, and that Martin Broones was set to adapt and supervise the production. HR pre-release news items list actors Tom McGuire, Tommy Conlon and Harry Watson in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to the Var review, forty women and sixteen men comprised the chorus and danced in the film's two dance numbers. Although a HR pre-production news item noted that six or eight songs were being prepared for the picture, only three songs were featured, and of those three, only one was taken from the original musical comedy. The Var review notes the following information about the production: George White, who produced the Broadway hit Flying High , received a credit in this picture as a result of his contract with M-G-M; Bert Lahr made his film debut in this picture, reprising his role from the Broadway stage production; and the unusual sound effect used in the scene where the aerocopter descends was also used in the M-G-M film Trader Horn (see below). According to censorship material in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in Jan 1931, the MPAA insisted that M-G-M remove from the script an examination scene in which Rusty is shown pouring liquor into a test tube. In a letter dated 11 Jan 1931, a Hays Office representative stated that in addition to the examination scene, there were "other extremely offensive vulgarities in Flying High which are causing us heap plenty of trouble." One week prior to the release of the film, Lamar Trotti, a Hays Office staffer, stated in a telegram: "...picture is [the] funniest [I] ever saw in my life and while a little rough in spots deserves the millions it will make..." Trotti went on to say, however, that although the examination scene got "tremendous laughs" at a preview screening, it was, in his opinion, in violation of the Code. That same week, the Hays Office tried once again to pressure M-G-M to remove the scene from the film, but the studio held fast and claimed that it had "paid $100,000 for the rights to the play just for that particular scene" and would fight to retain it. However, following the release of the film, and after a legal fiasco, in which an M-G-M's Portland, Oregon manager filed an unauthorized injunction against the Portland censors for rejecting the film there, the studio decided to remove the troublesome aspects of the scene from all prints of the picture. Flying High was released in Great Britain as Happy Landing . Bert Lahr reprised his role as "Rusty Krouse" in the Musical Comedy Time television production of the story, which aired on the NBC television network on 19 Mar 1951. The television production was directed by Bill Corrigan and starred Dorothy Claire and Mary May. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
16 Aug 31
p. 4.
Film Daily
13 Dec 31
p. 10.
HF
15 Aug 31
p. 20.
HF
5 Sep 31
p. 20.
HF
26 Sep 31
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 31
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Oct 31
p. 30.
New York Times
12 Dec 31
p. 3.
Variety
15 Dec 31
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Scr and dial
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
Dances created by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical Flying High , book by George B. DeSylva, lyrics by Lew Brown, music by Ray Henderson and John McGowan (New York, 3 Mar 1930).
SONGS
"Happy Landing," music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy DeSylva
"We'll Dance Until the Dawn" and "It'll Be the First Time for Me," music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Dorothy Fields.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
George White's Flying High
Happy Landing
Release Date:
14 November 1931
Production Date:
mid Aug--late Sep 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
9 November 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2608
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78 or 80
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Pansy Botts, a small town girl who moved to the big city to become a mother, is a waitress in a diner. She believes that "a girl can't go through life with a tray on her arm," so she places an ad in the Pilot's Gazette for a husband. At a nearby airfield, Rusty Krouse, the inventor of a flying machine called the aerocopter, is displaying his invention for the upcoming Tenth Annual Air Show, when Sport Wardell takes an interest in the copter. Rusty, in financial straits and dogged by his creditors, turns to Sport for help in finding a wealthy investor to bail him out. Soon, an interested Mr. Smith avails himself to the two, and Sport offers to make him president of the company. Smith, however, is temporarily low on cash and is unable to cover Sport's check for Rusty's engine. It is then that Sport meets Smith's lovely daughter Eileen, who teaches at an aviation school. Sport cautions Rusty that if he cannot cover his check, he will surely go to jail. Sport then convinces his partner that he must marry the desperate Pansy and use her $500 marriage reward to keep himself out of jail. Rusty grudgingly agrees to the scheme, and Sport tells Pansy the good news. Pansy is overjoyed at the prospect of finally landing a husband, especially after Sport shows her Clark Gable's photograph and tells her that the pictured gentleman is to be her groom. Unable to contain her excitement, Pansy rushes to Sport's office to meet her new husband. The love-starved Pansy, upon learning that Rusty ... +


Pansy Botts, a small town girl who moved to the big city to become a mother, is a waitress in a diner. She believes that "a girl can't go through life with a tray on her arm," so she places an ad in the Pilot's Gazette for a husband. At a nearby airfield, Rusty Krouse, the inventor of a flying machine called the aerocopter, is displaying his invention for the upcoming Tenth Annual Air Show, when Sport Wardell takes an interest in the copter. Rusty, in financial straits and dogged by his creditors, turns to Sport for help in finding a wealthy investor to bail him out. Soon, an interested Mr. Smith avails himself to the two, and Sport offers to make him president of the company. Smith, however, is temporarily low on cash and is unable to cover Sport's check for Rusty's engine. It is then that Sport meets Smith's lovely daughter Eileen, who teaches at an aviation school. Sport cautions Rusty that if he cannot cover his check, he will surely go to jail. Sport then convinces his partner that he must marry the desperate Pansy and use her $500 marriage reward to keep himself out of jail. Rusty grudgingly agrees to the scheme, and Sport tells Pansy the good news. Pansy is overjoyed at the prospect of finally landing a husband, especially after Sport shows her Clark Gable's photograph and tells her that the pictured gentleman is to be her groom. Unable to contain her excitement, Pansy rushes to Sport's office to meet her new husband. The love-starved Pansy, upon learning that Rusty is a mechanic, instantly falls in love with him and chases him around the office. Frightened by her aggressiveness, Rusty takes refuge in Doctor Brown's office, where he is subjected to an impromptu medical examination. When he emerges from the office, Pansy promises him that if he marries her that night she will never ask him to marry her again. Meanwhile, Sport plans to elope with his new sweetheart Eileen, but he is soon thwarted by the arrest of her father, who is in trouble for selling stocks without a license. Sport is arrested too when Mr. Smith tells the police that he was not aware of Sport's unscrupulous business practices and was duped by the man. Sport relies on Rusty to come through with the bail money and sees an aviation contest prize as his only ticket out of jail. Rusty, who has never flown his aerocopter and is afraid of flying, decides that he would rather marry Pansy and use her $500 to spring his friend. On their wedding night, Rusty tries to distance himself from his new wife and ends up sleeping in the bathtub to avoid her. The next morning, the day of the aviation contest, Pansy, determined to make him love her, locks Rusty in the room, but he wrestles her for the key and finally escapes. She follows him to the air show, where she insists on flying with him and jumps into the flying contraption as it makes a clumsy takeoff. Once airborne, Rusty informs Pansy that the part necessary to make the plane descend has been ejected onto the tip of the wing. Pansy climbs onto the wing to retrieve the part, but parachutes to safety when she learns that the aerocopter cannot stop its ascent. Rusty, meanwhile, rises into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where he decides to release the aerocopter's fuel to force a landing. Rusty finally descends, passes Pansy on her way down and lands safely at the airfield, where he is awarded first prize for reaching the height of 53,000 feet. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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