Hell Divers (1932)

110 or 113 mins | Drama | 16 January 1932

Director:

George Hill

Cinematographer:

Harold Wenstrom

Editor:

Blanche Sewell

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Writer Frank Wead is credited onscreen as "Lieutenant Commander Frank Wead." According to a contemporary HR news item, Hell Divers had a sneak preview showing in San Bernardino, California, on 29 Oct 1931. M-G-M publicity material notes that this picture, which was filmed with the cooperation of the U. S. Navy Department, featured Clark Gable in his first starring role, and this it was the first film to feature "fighting-diving bombers." Studio publicity records also indicate that Wallace Beery played the piano and sang for this film, the first time he had done so in any picture. HR pre-release news items indicate that Edward Dean Sullivan and Charles McArthur worked on the adaptation, and that actors Eric Alden and Eric Holden were set for parts. The appearance of Holden and Alden in the released film has not been confirmed.
According to a 1956 NYT news item, some footage of this film was incorporated into the 1957 M-G-M picture The Wings of the Eagles, a film based on Frank Wead's life. Portions of Hell Divers were filmed aboard the U.S aircraft carrier Saratoga while on maneuvers in Panama, in the Caribbean Sea, and on the North Island Naval Base near San Diego, California. ...

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Writer Frank Wead is credited onscreen as "Lieutenant Commander Frank Wead." According to a contemporary HR news item, Hell Divers had a sneak preview showing in San Bernardino, California, on 29 Oct 1931. M-G-M publicity material notes that this picture, which was filmed with the cooperation of the U. S. Navy Department, featured Clark Gable in his first starring role, and this it was the first film to feature "fighting-diving bombers." Studio publicity records also indicate that Wallace Beery played the piano and sang for this film, the first time he had done so in any picture. HR pre-release news items indicate that Edward Dean Sullivan and Charles McArthur worked on the adaptation, and that actors Eric Alden and Eric Holden were set for parts. The appearance of Holden and Alden in the released film has not been confirmed.
According to a 1956 NYT news item, some footage of this film was incorporated into the 1957 M-G-M picture The Wings of the Eagles, a film based on Frank Wead's life. Portions of Hell Divers were filmed aboard the U.S aircraft carrier Saratoga while on maneuvers in Panama, in the Caribbean Sea, and on the North Island Naval Base near San Diego, California.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
CREDIT
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
Personal note credit:
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
27 Dec 1931
p. 10
HF
4 Jul 1931
p. 20
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 1931
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 1931
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 1931
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
10 Nov 1931
p. 3
International Photographer
1 Jan 1932
p. 30
Motion Picture Herald
26 Dec 1931
p. 30
Motion Picture Herald
16 Jan 1932
p. 22
New York Times
23 Dec 1931
p. 27
New York Times
17-Nov-40
---
Variety
29 Dec 1931
p. 166
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A George Hill Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst to the dir
PRODUCER
E. J. Mannix
Supv
WRITERS
Story
James K. McGuinness
Addl dial
Addl dial
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Charles A. Marshall
Aerial photog
Akeley asst
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SOUND
Rec dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Still photog
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 January 1932
Production Date:
26 Jun--7 Aug 1931
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
20 January 1932
LP2772
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
110 or 113
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

"Windy" Riker, chief petty officer of the aviation squadron on the U.S.S. Saratoga , loses his five-year claim to the title of "champion dog fighter" when a young upstart C.P.O. named Steve Nelson joins the squadron. Soon after meeting, Windy and Steve engage in friendly competition as they try out a new vertical dive-bombing technique. Later, Windy, a notorious bully and troublemaker, is arrested for wrecking a Turkish bathhouse. Windy is spared punishment, however, when Jack Griffin, the commander of the unit, intervenes on his behalf. The friendly rivalry between Windy and Steve turns bitter when Steve questions Windy's explanation of a flying mishap and Windy punches him. When Ann Mitchell, Steve's sweetheart, visits her beau to discuss his marriage proposal, Windy, angry with Steve for not having been introduced to Ann, takes revenge on him by sending his friend Lulu to start an argument between them. Lulu pretends that she is Steve's ex-lover, which infuriates Ann and causes her hasty departure. Following a mid-air collision which cripples Jack, the squadron commander is retired, and Duke Johnson is appointed to take his place. When Windy makes an aviation error, he is confined to the ship while it docks in Panama. This prevents him from visiting his sweetheart Mame Kelsey, but allows Steve, who knows Mame, to meet her on the dock and share a carriage ride with her. Enraged, Windy sneaks off the ship and follows them. When he finally catches up to them, Mame prevents them from fighting and forces the two to make amends. As soon as they are left alone, however, Windy and Steve engage in a fight, ...

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"Windy" Riker, chief petty officer of the aviation squadron on the U.S.S. Saratoga , loses his five-year claim to the title of "champion dog fighter" when a young upstart C.P.O. named Steve Nelson joins the squadron. Soon after meeting, Windy and Steve engage in friendly competition as they try out a new vertical dive-bombing technique. Later, Windy, a notorious bully and troublemaker, is arrested for wrecking a Turkish bathhouse. Windy is spared punishment, however, when Jack Griffin, the commander of the unit, intervenes on his behalf. The friendly rivalry between Windy and Steve turns bitter when Steve questions Windy's explanation of a flying mishap and Windy punches him. When Ann Mitchell, Steve's sweetheart, visits her beau to discuss his marriage proposal, Windy, angry with Steve for not having been introduced to Ann, takes revenge on him by sending his friend Lulu to start an argument between them. Lulu pretends that she is Steve's ex-lover, which infuriates Ann and causes her hasty departure. Following a mid-air collision which cripples Jack, the squadron commander is retired, and Duke Johnson is appointed to take his place. When Windy makes an aviation error, he is confined to the ship while it docks in Panama. This prevents him from visiting his sweetheart Mame Kelsey, but allows Steve, who knows Mame, to meet her on the dock and share a carriage ride with her. Enraged, Windy sneaks off the ship and follows them. When he finally catches up to them, Mame prevents them from fighting and forces the two to make amends. As soon as they are left alone, however, Windy and Steve engage in a fight, which results in the destruction of a bar and Windy's arrest. Though Windy is sprung from jail in time to make his ship's departure, he soon learns that Steve will be replacing him as leading chief when his upcoming retirement takes effect. Windy is crushed by the news. During a mock battle drill, Steve's plane crashes, leaving Steve and his pilot stranded on a rocky island. When Windy and Duke discover the downed plane, they rescue the two at a risk to their own safety, and Windy sets Steve's broken leg. Steve and Windy resume their friendship as they wait for four days for a search party to find them. With no sign of a rescue mission to save them, Steve devises a plan to leave the island by having Windy fly the plane according to his navigation. In order to lessen the danger of flying too heavy, the injured Steve insists on riding the wing. Together, the servicemen locate the aircraft carrier, but when the plane crashes onto the vessel's deck it explodes, killing Windy. Following Windy's burial at sea, Steve reads a letter that Windy wrote to him before his death. In the letter, Windy reveals that Ann left him not because she did not love him, but because of his deeds.

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

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