The Sky Pilot (1921)

77 mins | Melodrama | 17 April 1921

Director:

King Vidor

Producer:

Cathrine Curtis

Cinematographer:

Gus Peterson

Production Company:

Cathrine Curtis Corp.
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HISTORY

According to a 23 Oct 1920 Moving Picture World article, when producer Cathrine Curtis acquired film rights to John Connor’s novel, The Sky Pilot; A Tale of the Foothills, she hired adaptation writer Faith Green, who travelled with Connor to the areas where his novel takes place. The article listed A. L. Thompson as casting and production manager, and S. A. Baldridge as art director. L. William O’Connell was identified as director of photography, with Gus Peterson set to perform as his assistant. Formerly, the 18 Sep 1920 Motion Picture News had stated that Ira H. Morgan would shoot the film.
       A 25 Sep 1920 Motion Picture News brief stated that casting was underway and principal photography would begin the following week. The 2 Oct 1920 Motion Picture News confirmed that production had commenced. Scenarist John McDermott was slated to be on set with director King Vidor through the completion of filming. Locations were scouted in the Santa Cruz Mountains in central CA, as noted in the 9 Oct 1920 Motion Picture News. However, an advertisement in the 23 Oct 1920 Moving Picture World stated that cast and crew were currently on location in the Canadian foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The 2 Dec 1920 Wid’s Daily announced that final scenes had been shot in Truckee, CA.
       The 9 Oct 1920 Wid’s Daily reported that Associated First National Pictures had acquired distribution rights. On 24 Jan 1921, a final edit of the film was shown to First National executive Sol Lesser, as stated in the 12 Feb 1921 ... More Less

According to a 23 Oct 1920 Moving Picture World article, when producer Cathrine Curtis acquired film rights to John Connor’s novel, The Sky Pilot; A Tale of the Foothills, she hired adaptation writer Faith Green, who travelled with Connor to the areas where his novel takes place. The article listed A. L. Thompson as casting and production manager, and S. A. Baldridge as art director. L. William O’Connell was identified as director of photography, with Gus Peterson set to perform as his assistant. Formerly, the 18 Sep 1920 Motion Picture News had stated that Ira H. Morgan would shoot the film.
       A 25 Sep 1920 Motion Picture News brief stated that casting was underway and principal photography would begin the following week. The 2 Oct 1920 Motion Picture News confirmed that production had commenced. Scenarist John McDermott was slated to be on set with director King Vidor through the completion of filming. Locations were scouted in the Santa Cruz Mountains in central CA, as noted in the 9 Oct 1920 Motion Picture News. However, an advertisement in the 23 Oct 1920 Moving Picture World stated that cast and crew were currently on location in the Canadian foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The 2 Dec 1920 Wid’s Daily announced that final scenes had been shot in Truckee, CA.
       The 9 Oct 1920 Wid’s Daily reported that Associated First National Pictures had acquired distribution rights. On 24 Jan 1921, a final edit of the film was shown to First National executive Sol Lesser, as stated in the 12 Feb 1921 Motion Picture News. The next day, an “editing print and negative” were shipped to the East Coast. According to a May 1921 item in Motion Picture Magazine, King Vidor utilized his own “perfectly satisfactory method of coloring films” which entailed the use of “various tints to suggest different hours of the day and also to induce certain moods.”
       According to a 26 Mar 1921 Exhibitors Herald brief, a preview screening took place at the Apollo Theatre in Hollywood, CA. The Sky Pilot opened at the Mark Strand Theatre in New York City on 17 Apr 1921, as announced in the 15 Apr 1921 Var. An advertisement in the 10 Jun 1921 Var touted multiple spectacles within the picture, including: “A cattle stampede that out-thrills all thrillers…[with] 4,000 maddened, foam-flecked steers”; “Man and horse plunge from bridge 100 feet over chasm into seething river”; “Outlaw setting fire to a church”; “Mounted man rolls with horse hundreds of feet down steep mountain side”; “Desperate swim down roaring rapids”; “Girl on horseback lassoes drowning man and drags him to safety”; “Hand to hand battle”; and “Shooting up of town by half-crazed, two-gun cowboy.”
       Several cast members were released from existing contracts to appear in the picture: Actor David Butler appeared in the film courtesy of D. N. Schwab Productions; Colleen Moore was loaned by Marshall Neilan; and John Bowers appeared courtesy of Goldwyn Studios.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald
16 Oct 1920
p. 40.
Exhibitors Herald
26 Mar 1921.
---
Film Daily
24 Apr 1921.
---
Motion Picture Magazine
May 1921.
---
Motion Picture News
18 Sep 1920.
---
Motion Picture News
25 Sep 1920.
---
Motion Picture News
2 Oct 1920.
---
Motion Picture News
9 Oct 1920.
---
Motion Picture News
25 Dec 1920.
---
Motion Picture News
1 Jan 1921.
---
Motion Picture News
5 Feb 1921.
---
Motion Picture News
12 Feb 1921.
---
Moving Picture World
23 Oct 1920.
---
New York Times
18 Apr 1921
p. 18.
The Photo-Play Journal
Nov 1920
p. 52.
The Photo-Play Journal
Feb 1921
pp. 12-13.
Variety
15 Apr 1921.
---
Variety
22 Apr 1921
p. 40.
Variety
10 Jun 1921.
---
Wid's Daily
8 Sep 1920
p. 1.
Wid's Daily
29 Sep 1920.
---
Wid's Daily
9 Oct 1920
p. 1.
Wid's Daily
2 Dec 1920.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Sky Pilot
a Tale of the Foothills by Ralph Connor (Chicago, 1899).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 April 1921
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 17 April 1921 at the Marchk Strand Theatre
Production Date:
late September or early October--November or December 1920
Copyright Claimant:
Cathrine Curtis Corp.
Copyright Date:
14 May 1921
Copyright Number:
LP16524
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77
Length(in feet):
6,305
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the Canadian Northwest a young minister receives a rough reception from cowboys in a cattle settlement. Attempting to hold service in a saloon, he becomes involved in a fight with Bill Hendricks, foreman of the Ashley ranch, who later befriends him and gets him a job at the ranch. There he becomes a favorite and is called "The Sky Pilot." He saves Hendricks' sweetheart, Gwen, from a cattle stampede, but she is injured; and although a plot by her embittered father and some cattle thieves is frustrated, they burn the minister's church. In saving him, however, Gwen regains the use of her limbs. The Sky Pilot brings about the reformation of Gwen's father, and he officiates at her marriage to ... +


In the Canadian Northwest a young minister receives a rough reception from cowboys in a cattle settlement. Attempting to hold service in a saloon, he becomes involved in a fight with Bill Hendricks, foreman of the Ashley ranch, who later befriends him and gets him a job at the ranch. There he becomes a favorite and is called "The Sky Pilot." He saves Hendricks' sweetheart, Gwen, from a cattle stampede, but she is injured; and although a plot by her embittered father and some cattle thieves is frustrated, they burn the minister's church. In saving him, however, Gwen regains the use of her limbs. The Sky Pilot brings about the reformation of Gwen's father, and he officiates at her marriage to Hendricks. +

GENRE
Genre:


Subject

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

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