The Last Flight (1931)

77 or 80 mins | Drama | 29 August 1931

Director:

William Dieterle

Cinematographer:

Sid Hickox

Editor:

Alexander Hall

Production Designer:

Jack Okey

Production Company:

First National Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The films pre-release titles were Spent Bullets and Single Lady . The novel is based on a series of stories featuring the character "Nikki," which were published in Liberty Weekly (15 Nov 1930-17 Jan 1931). This was German-born director William Dieterle's first English language picture. He had worked in Hollywood directing several German-language versions of American features since the late 1920s. Var indicates that William Wellman was originally scheduled to direct. PCA files indicate that censors objected to sexual innuendo and skimpy clothing in some scenes in the film. Modern sources add Yola d'Avril and Luis Alberni to the cast. Modern sources call the film one of the few cinematic treatments of "The Lost Generation." Following the film's release, a musical adaptation entitled Nikki opened on Broadway on 29 Sep 1931 with Douglass Montgomery, Fay Wray, and Archie Leach, prior to his adoption of the name Cary ... More Less

The films pre-release titles were Spent Bullets and Single Lady . The novel is based on a series of stories featuring the character "Nikki," which were published in Liberty Weekly (15 Nov 1930-17 Jan 1931). This was German-born director William Dieterle's first English language picture. He had worked in Hollywood directing several German-language versions of American features since the late 1920s. Var indicates that William Wellman was originally scheduled to direct. PCA files indicate that censors objected to sexual innuendo and skimpy clothing in some scenes in the film. Modern sources add Yola d'Avril and Luis Alberni to the cast. Modern sources call the film one of the few cinematic treatments of "The Lost Generation." Following the film's release, a musical adaptation entitled Nikki opened on Broadway on 29 Sep 1931 with Douglass Montgomery, Fay Wray, and Archie Leach, prior to his adoption of the name Cary Grant. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
19 Aug 31
p. 8.
Film Daily
23 Aug 31
p. 18.
International Photographer
1 Oct 31
p. 29.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Sep 31
pp. 26-27.
Motion Picture Herald
26 Sep 31
p. 27.
New York Times
20 Aug 31
p. 17.
Variety
25 Aug 31
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Vitaphone Orch cond
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Single Lady by John Monk Saunders (New York, l931).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Single Lady
Spent Bullets
Release Date:
29 August 1931
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 19 August 1931
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 August 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2402
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77 or 80
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After World War I, Cary Lockwood, Shep Lambert, Bill Talbot and Francis, pilots who are suffering from shell shock, band together in Paris. Feeling they have no future, the men drink continually. One night, as they make the rounds of nightclubs, they meet Nikki, a wealthy but aimless woman. The four ex-flyers adopt her as their mascot. An American reporter named Frink makes a pass at Nikki, but she shows no interest in him. The men move to Nikki's hotel where they continue drinking. Nikki is curious about Cary, so when he leaves to visit the cemetary, she tags along. At the cemetary, he tells her the story of Heloise and Abelard. Realizing that she has interfered with his plans for the day, Nikki starts to cry. Cary is sympathetic until she announces that at least his story has provided names for her two turtles. Cary suddenly gets angry and decides to leave for Portugal. After learning of his plans, Nikki and the other men, including Frink, follow him. On the train, Frink tries to force himself on Nikki. She is defended by the other men, who now hate Frink. During a bullfight in Lisbon, Bill leaps into the ring and is fatally gored. After leaving Bill at the hospital, the others visit a carnival. Outside a shooting gallery, Cary and Frink quarrel and Frink threatens to shoot Cary. Without thinking, Francis shoots Frink and Shep is fatally wounded in the crossfire. After the shooting, Francis disappears for good. Cary tells Nikki that after the war, all they had left was their comradeship. ... +


After World War I, Cary Lockwood, Shep Lambert, Bill Talbot and Francis, pilots who are suffering from shell shock, band together in Paris. Feeling they have no future, the men drink continually. One night, as they make the rounds of nightclubs, they meet Nikki, a wealthy but aimless woman. The four ex-flyers adopt her as their mascot. An American reporter named Frink makes a pass at Nikki, but she shows no interest in him. The men move to Nikki's hotel where they continue drinking. Nikki is curious about Cary, so when he leaves to visit the cemetary, she tags along. At the cemetary, he tells her the story of Heloise and Abelard. Realizing that she has interfered with his plans for the day, Nikki starts to cry. Cary is sympathetic until she announces that at least his story has provided names for her two turtles. Cary suddenly gets angry and decides to leave for Portugal. After learning of his plans, Nikki and the other men, including Frink, follow him. On the train, Frink tries to force himself on Nikki. She is defended by the other men, who now hate Frink. During a bullfight in Lisbon, Bill leaps into the ring and is fatally gored. After leaving Bill at the hospital, the others visit a carnival. Outside a shooting gallery, Cary and Frink quarrel and Frink threatens to shoot Cary. Without thinking, Francis shoots Frink and Shep is fatally wounded in the crossfire. After the shooting, Francis disappears for good. Cary tells Nikki that after the war, all they had left was their comradeship. Touched, she begs to stay with him. +

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.