Sky Giant (1938)

80-81 mins | Drama | 22 July 1938

Director:

Lew Landers

Writer:

Lionel Houser

Producer:

Robert Sisk

Cinematographer:

Nicholas Musuraca

Editor:

Harry Marker

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Ground Crew and Northern Flight . In an onscreen prologue, the filmmakers dedicate the film to the aviation pioneers of America. According to a HR news item, scenes from the movie were shot at Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, CA. Reviewers commented on the similarity between the "arctic mapping flight" that was featured in the film and millionaire aviator Howard Hughes's trans-world flight, which was completed shortly before the film's preview screening. According to MPH , during a production meeting that took place after the film's California preview, it was suggested that the RKO advertising department use newsreel footage of Hughes's record-breaking flight as part of the movie's trailer. Hughes made his trip in a twin-engined Lockheed in three days and nineteen hours. Modern sources note that Lockheed 12, Ryan ST and Stinson Reliant airplanes were used in the ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Ground Crew and Northern Flight . In an onscreen prologue, the filmmakers dedicate the film to the aviation pioneers of America. According to a HR news item, scenes from the movie were shot at Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, CA. Reviewers commented on the similarity between the "arctic mapping flight" that was featured in the film and millionaire aviator Howard Hughes's trans-world flight, which was completed shortly before the film's preview screening. According to MPH , during a production meeting that took place after the film's California preview, it was suggested that the RKO advertising department use newsreel footage of Hughes's record-breaking flight as part of the movie's trailer. Hughes made his trip in a twin-engined Lockheed in three days and nineteen hours. Modern sources note that Lockheed 12, Ryan ST and Stinson Reliant airplanes were used in the production. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Jul 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Jul 38
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 38
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 38
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 38
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 38
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
19 Jul 38
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
28 May 38
p. 58.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Jul 38
pp. 29-30, p. 39, 42
New York Times
20 Jul 38
p. 22.
Variety
20 Jul 38
p. 12
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Northern Flight
Ground Crew
Release Date:
22 July 1938
Production Date:
14001
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
22 July 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8233
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80-81
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4297
SYNOPSIS

When strict, demanding Colonel Cornelius Stockton is transferred to special duty at the Trans-World Air Line School of Aeronautics in Glendale, California, he maneuvers to have pilot W. R. "Stag" Cahill, a former Army Air Force captain, assigned as his assistant. To the colonel's dismay, his "wild" son Ken enrolls secretly in the school and soon becomes Stag's star student. In spite of the colonel's gruelling training schedule, Ken develops a friendly professional rivalry with Stag and also competes with him for Meg Lawrence, the cousin of a fellow pilot, "Fergie" Ferguson. After a night out with Meg, Ken is ordered by his father to perform a high-altitude test flight with Stag and, exhausted, faints in the thin air. Although Stag regains control of the plane in time to save the flight, he is reprimanded by the colonel for protecting his "cowardly" son. Unafraid, Stag defends Ken and tells Stockton that his overly zealous work schedules are ruining the pilots. Just as Stockton fires Stag and his son for insubordination, he receives a telephone call that two of his pilots have died during a test flight. Shamed, the colonel rehires Stag and Ken, who then becomes engaged to Meg. When Ken is assigned to join Stag and Fergie on a dangerous arctic mapping flight, however, a fearful Meg calls off the engagement. Before the flight, Stag tells Meg that if she marries him, he will stop flying after the arctic trip, and she weds him in a civil ceremony. As he flies north with Ken and Fergie, Stag announces his marriage to Ken, who grows morose with jealousy. Because of ... +


When strict, demanding Colonel Cornelius Stockton is transferred to special duty at the Trans-World Air Line School of Aeronautics in Glendale, California, he maneuvers to have pilot W. R. "Stag" Cahill, a former Army Air Force captain, assigned as his assistant. To the colonel's dismay, his "wild" son Ken enrolls secretly in the school and soon becomes Stag's star student. In spite of the colonel's gruelling training schedule, Ken develops a friendly professional rivalry with Stag and also competes with him for Meg Lawrence, the cousin of a fellow pilot, "Fergie" Ferguson. After a night out with Meg, Ken is ordered by his father to perform a high-altitude test flight with Stag and, exhausted, faints in the thin air. Although Stag regains control of the plane in time to save the flight, he is reprimanded by the colonel for protecting his "cowardly" son. Unafraid, Stag defends Ken and tells Stockton that his overly zealous work schedules are ruining the pilots. Just as Stockton fires Stag and his son for insubordination, he receives a telephone call that two of his pilots have died during a test flight. Shamed, the colonel rehires Stag and Ken, who then becomes engaged to Meg. When Ken is assigned to join Stag and Fergie on a dangerous arctic mapping flight, however, a fearful Meg calls off the engagement. Before the flight, Stag tells Meg that if she marries him, he will stop flying after the arctic trip, and she weds him in a civil ceremony. As he flies north with Ken and Fergie, Stag announces his marriage to Ken, who grows morose with jealousy. Because of their poor maps, the pilots are forced to make an emergency landing in the arctic mountains, and the airplane crashes on takeoff. Ken and Stag carry an injured Fergie through a blizzard toward the coast, but after several slow days, Fergie sacrifices his life to the cold to save his friends. Near death, Stag collapses in the snow and is left behind by a still resentful Ken. Before long, however, Ken remembers the sacrifices that Stag made for him and returns to save him. Eventually, Ken and Stag locate a village, and when they arrive back in Glendale, they are heralded as aviation heroes. Stag, seeing that Meg still loves Ken, insists that their marriage be annulled, and Meg gracefully accepts Stag's final sacrifice. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.