Danger Flight (1939)

Tailspin Tommy is pretty much a forgotten hero of the comics today. But back in the 1930s, he was big, and in fact it was the first adventure strip with an aviation theme. It was popular enough to result in a number of screen adaptations, one of which is Danger Flight.

John Trent as Tailspin Tommy in Danger Flight (1939)

In all, two serials and four feature films were made about Tailspin Tommy. Danger Flight is said to be the best of the features, and it was also the last. The only other one available at the Internet Archive is Sky Patrol (1939).

There is a nice article about the history of Tailspin Tommy, mainly focusing on the newspaper strip but also covering the adaptations to some extent.

Danger Flight features a lot of cheaply made flight scenes and a lot of talking over the radio. Still, the plot is interesting enough to keep attention up, and even the child actors are not too annoying.

The film was made for juveniles and it shows. The positive side of that is there is a feel-good undercurrent throughout the film, reminiscent of the juvenile stories I read as a kid. Danger Flight does not qualify as great art, by any stretch of the term, but it certainly is entertaining as long as you are not looking for any deeper messages.

As an interesting piece of trivia, Tailspin Tommy actor John Trent was apparently himself a pilot and went on to become a successful test pilot after his acting career.

This film is best enjoyed by model plane enthusiasts, since model planes play an important role in the plot.

Milburn Stone (Skeeter), Marjorie Reynolds (Beey Lou), Tommy Baker (Whitey) and John Trent (Tailspin Tommy) in Danger Flight (1939)

Danger Flight
Download link
Year: 1939
Running time: 60 min
Director: Howard Bretherton
Stars: John Trent
Image quality: Acceptable
Resolution: Medium (704×528)
Sound quality: Acceptable
Best file format: MPEG2 (3.1 G)

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