Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings (1939), produced and directed by Howard Hawks.

A South American cargo airline is serious about getting the mail through a dangerous mountain pass. You'd think they were at war. Pilots often crash and die, then their pals drink and sing, divide up their stuff and pretend not to care.

New arrivals: an old enemy, an old girlfriend (Rita Hayworth, age 20) and a stranded singer, Jean Arthur, auditioning for the part of new girlfriend.

From the golden year of 1939, a tough-guy genre film where the women have to be tough to keep up. The sexual banter is concealed in the text, but the characters understand. They fall in love by instinct, without calculation.

You know why condors are endangered? Because those fliers used to drop exploding bottles of nitro on them.

Cary Grant is harder than in other roles, but still dreamy for the ladies. He can be fun, it's just that he has a tough job.

Strong supporting cast, and this time I noticed that even the background characters are real characters. We don't get to know their stories, but we can tell that they have them.

Most of the flying is with small scale models, but we have some breathtaking real footage.

Chesley Bonestell provided some matte paintings; this is his first film credit. Later he was a noted astronomical illustrator for the early Space Age.

Criterion Blu-ray. A Turner Blu-ray was available earlier. Operating just from memory the image quality seemed similar to me. Criterion has subtitles and extras, but I don't think Turner did.

One extra has some valuable points about Howard Hawks: