Dive Bomber (1941)

130 or 133 mins | Drama | 30 August 1941

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Cinematographers:

Winton Hoch, Bert Glennon

Editor:

George Amy

Production Designer:

Robert Haas

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The onscreen credits include the following acknowledgment: "This picture produced under the auspices of the motion picture committee cooperating for national defense." The film begins with the following written statement: "We sincerely thank the United States Navy for its aid and cooperation in the production of this motion picture. The picture itself we dedicate to the pioneer flight surgeons of our armed forces, in recognition of their heroic efforts to solve the immensely difficult problems of aviation medicine. To the 'Flight Surgeons' then--whose job it is to keep our fighting pilots in the air."
       The film's working title was Beyond the Blue Sky . A 6 Dec 1940 DV news item notes that Warner Bros. intended the film to be a vehicle for James Cagney, George Brent and Ronald Reagan. At that time, Lloyd Bacon was to direct. HR news items add the following information about the production: Background scenes were shot on location at Eglin Air Force Base in Pensacola, FL and Honolulu, HI, and many of the dramatic scenes were shot on location at the U.S. Naval Base in San Diego, CA. Scenes were filmed aboard the aircraft carriers U.S.S. Enterprise and U.S.S. Saratoga . Commander J. R. Poppen replaced Lieutenant Commander Charles Brown as technical advisor when he was assigned to the Saratoga . Warner Bros. sent triplicate prints of all stills and other publicity shots to officials of the U.S. Naval Base at San Diego for approval under orders from the Naval Intelligence Bureau.
       Flyer Paul Mantz was seriously injured on his way to the San Diego location, and Frank Clark substituted ... More Less

The onscreen credits include the following acknowledgment: "This picture produced under the auspices of the motion picture committee cooperating for national defense." The film begins with the following written statement: "We sincerely thank the United States Navy for its aid and cooperation in the production of this motion picture. The picture itself we dedicate to the pioneer flight surgeons of our armed forces, in recognition of their heroic efforts to solve the immensely difficult problems of aviation medicine. To the 'Flight Surgeons' then--whose job it is to keep our fighting pilots in the air."
       The film's working title was Beyond the Blue Sky . A 6 Dec 1940 DV news item notes that Warner Bros. intended the film to be a vehicle for James Cagney, George Brent and Ronald Reagan. At that time, Lloyd Bacon was to direct. HR news items add the following information about the production: Background scenes were shot on location at Eglin Air Force Base in Pensacola, FL and Honolulu, HI, and many of the dramatic scenes were shot on location at the U.S. Naval Base in San Diego, CA. Scenes were filmed aboard the aircraft carriers U.S.S. Enterprise and U.S.S. Saratoga . Commander J. R. Poppen replaced Lieutenant Commander Charles Brown as technical advisor when he was assigned to the Saratoga . Warner Bros. sent triplicate prints of all stills and other publicity shots to officials of the U.S. Naval Base at San Diego for approval under orders from the Naval Intelligence Bureau.
       Flyer Paul Mantz was seriously injured on his way to the San Diego location, and Frank Clark substituted for him during his convalescence. According to an article in NYT dated 1 Jun 1941, taking the heavy Technicolor cameras up in airplanes created special technical problems as the planes carrying them had to dive right alongside the squadron. Byron Haskin, the head of the Warner Bros. special effects department, designed special camera mounts that allowed one of the two cameras used to move back and forth. The article adds that the filmmakers were allowed only three days at sea with the Enterprise . Bert Glennon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Photography (Color). HR news items note that the San Diego world premiere was held simultaneously in three theaters. For publicity purposes, the U.S. Navy, in cooperation with Warner Bros., placed new Douglas dive bombers on display in principle cities along with recruiting booths promoting navy enlistment. This film marked the first time actors Alexis Smith and Craig Stevens appeared together. They married in 1944. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
May 41
p. 260.
American Cinematographer
Sep 41
p. 451.
Box Office
16 Aug 1941.
---
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1940.
---
Daily Variety
13 Aug 41
p 3.
Film Daily
15 Aug 1941.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 41
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 41
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
16 Aug 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
31 May 41
p. 145.
New York Times
1 Jun 1941.
---
New York Times
30 Aug 41
p. 10.
Variety
13 Aug 41
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DeWolf Hopper
Byron Barr
Tom Skinner
Charles B. Smith
Michael Ames
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
2nd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Aerial photog
Aerial photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Orch arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Medical tech adv
Aeronautical tech adv
Chief pilot for Warner Bros.
Title Dive Bomber by
Unit mgr
Substitute pilot
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col dir
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Beyond the Blue Sky
Release Date:
30 August 1941
Premiere Information:
World premiere in San Diego: 12 August 1941
Production Date:
mid March--mid May 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 August 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10867
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
130 or 133
Length(in feet):
11,899
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Navy pilots Joe Blake, Swede Larson and Tim Griffin form a tight group whose close friendship is marked by the use of a characteristic cigarette case. When Swede blacks out during a dive over Hawaiian waters and crashes his airplane, naval doctor Doug Lee recommends immediate surgery. The surgery results in Swede's death, earning Doug the enmity of both Joe and Tim. Later, in San Diego, Joe has become a flight instructor. To his dismay, Doug enrolls in the flight surgeon's training program in order experience the problems facing the pilots at first hand. Doug also runs into difficulty with the senior flight surgeon, Lance Rogers, until he learns that Rogers ruined his heart running medical tests on himself and can no longer fly. The two doctors become friends, and after Doug graduates, Rogers requests that he be assigned to the base at San Diego to help him with medical research. Joe volunteers as a test pilot as they experiment with a way to prevent pilots from blacking out during a dive. Doug invents a pneumatic belt which, when inflated, prevents the pilot's blood from leaving his head, and thus the blackout problem is solved. Later, Rogers is faced with the unpleasant task of grounding Tim, who is suffering from pilot fatigue. Because he needs money to support his family, however, Tim disregards Rogers' warning and signs up with the Canadian branch of the Royal Air Force. On a routine flight from San Diego to Vancouver, he crashes and is killed. Now Rogers and Doug begin work on altitude sickness. Because fighter pilots must be able to ... +


Navy pilots Joe Blake, Swede Larson and Tim Griffin form a tight group whose close friendship is marked by the use of a characteristic cigarette case. When Swede blacks out during a dive over Hawaiian waters and crashes his airplane, naval doctor Doug Lee recommends immediate surgery. The surgery results in Swede's death, earning Doug the enmity of both Joe and Tim. Later, in San Diego, Joe has become a flight instructor. To his dismay, Doug enrolls in the flight surgeon's training program in order experience the problems facing the pilots at first hand. Doug also runs into difficulty with the senior flight surgeon, Lance Rogers, until he learns that Rogers ruined his heart running medical tests on himself and can no longer fly. The two doctors become friends, and after Doug graduates, Rogers requests that he be assigned to the base at San Diego to help him with medical research. Joe volunteers as a test pilot as they experiment with a way to prevent pilots from blacking out during a dive. Doug invents a pneumatic belt which, when inflated, prevents the pilot's blood from leaving his head, and thus the blackout problem is solved. Later, Rogers is faced with the unpleasant task of grounding Tim, who is suffering from pilot fatigue. Because he needs money to support his family, however, Tim disregards Rogers' warning and signs up with the Canadian branch of the Royal Air Force. On a routine flight from San Diego to Vancouver, he crashes and is killed. Now Rogers and Doug begin work on altitude sickness. Because fighter pilots must be able to fly above the enemy in order to attack, they sometimes reach great heights, which cause some pilots to become very ill. After Tim's death, Joe changes his mind about Doug, and the two men work together to develop a pressurized suit which will counteract the adverse effects of high altitudes. They test the suit in a special chamber, but before Joe can take it up for real, Doug realizes that he, too, is suffering from fatigue and grounds him. Determined to see the project through, Joe ignores Doug's orders and takes his plane up. Above 35,000 feet, the oxygen tubes freeze, and Joe crashes but leaves a note to Doug advising him to heat the oxygen. With the trio now dead, Doug picks up the last cigarette case from the site of the crash. Doug and Rogers receive an award for their work, and in a posthumous honor to Joe, Doug flies with a squadron and carries Joe's cigarette case, which he releases into the air. +

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.