Ace of Aces (1933)

72 or 74 mins | Drama | 20 October 1933

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HISTORY

The working title of this film Bird of Prey, which also was the name of John Monk Saunder's original story. RKO borrowed Elizabeth Allan from M-G-M for this film. According to a HR news item, Stuart Erwin was to have appeared in the production. Actor and future producer William Cagney, the brother of James Cagney, made motion picture debut in the film. Arthur "Art" Jarrett was a popular radio singer, and the Stroud Twins (Claude and Clarence) were well-known vaudeville performers. According to modern sources, footage from Howard Hughes's 1930 film Hell's Angels was used in some of the flying sequences. Modern sources include Edward Gargan in the cast. ...

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The working title of this film Bird of Prey, which also was the name of John Monk Saunder's original story. RKO borrowed Elizabeth Allan from M-G-M for this film. According to a HR news item, Stuart Erwin was to have appeared in the production. Actor and future producer William Cagney, the brother of James Cagney, made motion picture debut in the film. Arthur "Art" Jarrett was a popular radio singer, and the Stroud Twins (Claude and Clarence) were well-known vaudeville performers. According to modern sources, footage from Howard Hughes's 1930 film Hell's Angels was used in some of the flying sequences. Modern sources include Edward Gargan in the cast.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Sep 1933
p. 2
Film Daily
11 Nov 1933
p. 3
HF
24 Jun 1933
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1933
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 1933
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 1933
p. 3
International Photographer
1 Aug 1933
p. 35
Motion Picture Daily
13 Nov 1933
p. 14
Motion Picture Herald
30 Sep 1933
p. 40
Motion Picture Herald
18 Nov 1933
p. 70
New York Times
11 Nov 1933
p. 10
Variety
14 Nov 1933
p. 30
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Vernon Walker
Spec photog
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Al Herman
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATOR
Chief propman
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Asst rec eng
Asst rec eng
PRODUCTION MISC
P. A. Bristow
Chief elec
Chief grip
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier," words and music by Alfred Bryan and Al Piantadosi.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Bird of Prey
Release Date:
20 October 1933
Production Date:
began late Jun 1933
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
RKO-Radio Pictures, Inc.
21 October 1933
LP4217
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
72 or 74
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

After the United States enters World War I, Nancy Adams becomes a Red Cross nurse, while her fiancé, Rex "Rocky" Thorne, pursues his sculpting career. Disappointed by Rocky's refusal to enlist, Nancy mocks his pacifist attitudes and accuses him of cowardice. Rocky, abandoned by Nancy, joins the army and trains as an aviator, determined to prove his bravery. Although he is at first hesitant about firing his machine gun during combat, Rocky "learns" how to kill as soon as he is shot at by his German foe. Filled with the thrill of victory, he vows to become the most successful aviator in the war, completely forgetting his pacifist scruples. In his specially equipped plane, he risks his life to gun down German after German, finally breaking the record for the most kills. While on furlough in Paris, Rocky runs into Nancy, whose own war experiences have soured her naive patriotism. Torn by guilt, Nancy agrees to spend the night with the highly decorated Rocky, while mourning the loss of the "gentle" Rocky she deserted. Soon after, Rocky shoots down an innocent German cadet and suffers a head wound, which lands him in the hosptial. Lying in the bed next to him is the German cadet, whose cries of suffering rack Rocky's conscience. Upon his release, Rocky is asked to give up combat to teach at a training school. Before leaving his squadron, however, Rocky, egged on by his peers, takes off on an unauthorized "last" mission. Surrounded by German planes, he prepares to kill, but as his hand reaches for his machine gun, he has a vision of ...

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After the United States enters World War I, Nancy Adams becomes a Red Cross nurse, while her fiancé, Rex "Rocky" Thorne, pursues his sculpting career. Disappointed by Rocky's refusal to enlist, Nancy mocks his pacifist attitudes and accuses him of cowardice. Rocky, abandoned by Nancy, joins the army and trains as an aviator, determined to prove his bravery. Although he is at first hesitant about firing his machine gun during combat, Rocky "learns" how to kill as soon as he is shot at by his German foe. Filled with the thrill of victory, he vows to become the most successful aviator in the war, completely forgetting his pacifist scruples. In his specially equipped plane, he risks his life to gun down German after German, finally breaking the record for the most kills. While on furlough in Paris, Rocky runs into Nancy, whose own war experiences have soured her naive patriotism. Torn by guilt, Nancy agrees to spend the night with the highly decorated Rocky, while mourning the loss of the "gentle" Rocky she deserted. Soon after, Rocky shoots down an innocent German cadet and suffers a head wound, which lands him in the hosptial. Lying in the bed next to him is the German cadet, whose cries of suffering rack Rocky's conscience. Upon his release, Rocky is asked to give up combat to teach at a training school. Before leaving his squadron, however, Rocky, egged on by his peers, takes off on an unauthorized "last" mission. Surrounded by German planes, he prepares to kill, but as his hand reaches for his machine gun, he has a vision of the German cadet and is unable to fire. In the fight, Rocky is wounded and crashes, but lives to return home and marry Nancy.

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

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