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Only Angels Have Wings

Cary Grant , Jean Arthur , Howard Hawks    DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hollywood's Hidden Treasures! Aug. 4 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Only Angels Have Wings is one of those many hidden treasures, one that was never really discovered... but will always be remembered. Taking place in a South American port of call for local Bananna Boats-Barranca- in which a Dutchman, John van Rider (The Dutchman) who runs almost everything in town, owns an air mail service that-despite hazardous and blinding weather- always sends its mail (and pilots) out on time, so that new planes can be bought, which will help weather conditions. As I have mentioned, the weather is harmful, and many who are emplyed by the Dutchman are killed at one point or another. Out of the small gang of pilots (including John Carrol as Jent Shelton, in a minor but excellent role), one stands out; Cary Grant, who plays Jeff Carter, a once sensitive and caring man who was turned into a cynical, unhappy chappy after a harsh breakup. Running the airline, Jeff only goes out when he thinks it might be too hard for anyone else. Bonnie Lee (Jean Arthur, in one of her first large roles)has just gotten of a Northbound boat to cool off for a couple of hours before the ship has loaded some bannanas and is ready to set out to sea. On the shore, she is met by two pilots who (after some trouble) manage to "get" her. Heartless Jeff sends one out for a delivery, contrary to a deal made between the two. Bonnie is shocked by Jeff's behavior. After deciding to come back when the fog is too much to bare, the pilot attepts a dangerous landing resulting in his death. Bonnie is shocked by how easily and rudely the bunch takes it. Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars Dated Hollywood Heroics June 27 2004
I wanted to like this movie, but I thought it was so dated as to just about cancel out the strong story line and how the story was crafted into a movie.
I like Cary Grant a lot, but here he was the no-nonsense, grim, man-among-men leader that, to my mind, played to none of his strengths. Richard Dix could have done almost as well up to the last three minutes. (Okay, I'm exagerating.)
Jean Arthur was a strong, strange actress who could hold her own with any lead actor. Here she's reduced to waiting anxiously for Grant to glance at her and to holding back the tears while she stands by her man. The subplot involving Rita Hayworth and Richard Barthelmess becomes tedious after a while. Thomas Mitchell, who seems to be in every movie made between 1935 and 1945, played Thomas Mitchell again. (Sometimes he could be great.)
It seemed to me that the tensions were self-evident; nothing was unexpected given the premise of the movie...unlike a movie with a similar premise, Wages of Fear, where your socks were scared off every time a truck approached a pot hole.
Most people seem to love this film. I dunno. There are a number of older movies that have held up well over the years. Even many which, while dated, still retain a great deal of charm. I can see how this movie would have been a hit when it came out. For me, it just seems dated.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great cast.good adventure film made in 1939 June 22 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Format: Black & White
Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Video Release Date: February 5, 1992
Cary Grant ... Geoff Carter
Jean Arthur ... Bonnie Lee
Richard Barthelmess ... Bat MacPherson (Kilgallen)
Rita Hayworth ... Judith 'Judy' MacPherson
Thomas Mitchell ... Kid Dabb
Allyn Joslyn ... Les Peters
Sig Ruman ... John 'Dutchy' Van Reiter
Victor Kilian ... Sparks (radioman)
John Carroll ... Gent Shelton
Don 'Red' Barry ... Tex Gordon (lookout)
Noah Beery Jr. ... Joe Souther
Manuel Álvarez Maciste ... The Singing Guitarist
Milisa Sierra ... Lily (Joe's girl)
Lucio Villegas ... Dr. Lagorio
Pat Flaherty ... Mike (head mechanic)
Pedro Regas ... Pancho
Pat West ... Baldy (bartender)
Lew Davis ... Shorty (mechanic)
Vernon Dent ... Ship's captain
Curley Dresden ... Mechanic
Budd Fine ... First Mate, on the Ship's Bridge
Eddie Foster ... Mechanic
Enrique Acosta ... Tourist
Tex Higginson ... Foreman #2
Harry A. Bailey ... Tourist
Raúl Lechuga ... Tourist
Jack Lowe ... Banana foreman
Francisco Marán ... Plantation overseer (on trolley)
James Millican ... Mechanic
Charles R. Moore ... Charlie (waiter)
Forbes Murray ... Mr. Harkwright (sick boy's father)
Wilson Benge ... Assistant purser
Ed Randolph ... Mechanic
Al Rhein ... Mechanic
Ky Robinson ... Mechanic
Robert Sterling
Sammee Tong ... Sam (the cook)
Victor Travers ... Plantation Overseer
Dick Botiller ... Tourist
Stanley Brown ... Harkwright Jr.
Candy Candido ... Bass player
Rafael Corio ... Rafael (purser with the scar)
Tessie Murray ... Tourist
Aurora Navarro ... Tourist
Inez Palange ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Man's World May 9 2004
When we shuffle off to that fabled desert island I'll let you take CASABLANCA or CITIZEN KANE or any other Greatest American Film you care to name - I'll take ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS and count myself the lucky one.
We're in the tiny port of call Barranca on the coast of Ecuador. Bonnie Lee (Jean Arthur), a 'specialty' entertainer, is getting off the boat. A couple of fly-boys pick her up and treat her to a dinner at the hotel/restaurant/bar and headquarters of Barranca Airlines. Geoff Carter (Cary Grant) enters and sends one of the fly-boys off into a nasty spell of weather - the mail has to be delivered.
The plane crashes and the pilot is killed. The rest of the pilots, led by Carter, respond with indifference and some forced gaiety. Bonnie is shocked by the callousness of it all:
Bonnie: Haven't you any feelings? Don't you realize he's dead?
Geoff: Who's dead? Who's Joe?
One face slap later Geoff lays it out for her. "And all the weeping and wailing in the world won't make him any deader 20 years from now. If you feel like bawling, how do you think we feel?"
End of lesson one. Bonnie is intrigued enough to miss her connecting boat and stays in Barranca for an action packed week. Geoff may be her ideal man, if she can just crack The Code.
ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS is less plot driven than most. Rather, it is a slow accumulation of scenes dealing with themes director Howard Hawks would return to again and again - male camaraderie, stoic indifference to danger, courage and devotion to duty. It also asks how women fit into this testosterone loaded environment. As usual, he assembles a competent ensemble cast and explores these issues from a number of angles.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Only Angels Have Wings (1939) ......
Columbia Pictures presents "ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS" (1939) (121 min/B&W) -- Starring: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Richard Barthelmess, Rita Hayworth & Thomas Mitchell... Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2011 by J. Lovins
5.0 out of 5 stars Collective Greatness
I originally only watched this because Cary Grant was in it and I was curious to see the normal Rita Hayworth - I love Gelda but I think it's a shame she didn't just stop... Read more
Published on July 19 2007 by S. Lo
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie has it all....
Only Angels Have Wings is a perfect example of an often ignored, but excellent, classic movie. Directed by Howard Hawks, and with a great cast, Only Angels Have Wings is half... Read more
Published on July 6 2002 by ehakus
4.0 out of 5 stars Still flys high six decades later
This is yet another great movie from the remarkable year, 1939. I've always been curious as to what plateau the movies would have wound up on had it not been for the devastating... Read more
Published on March 23 2002 by Matthew Horner
5.0 out of 5 stars A rousing and entertaining adventure film
This was the second dvd I bought ever and one of my favorites along with "Arsenic and Old Lace", also starring Cary Grant, but a whole different stuff. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2002 by Fernando Silva
5.0 out of 5 stars Neal E.
Simply one of the best films ever, and displays why Howard Hawks is one of the all time masters of the medium.
Published on July 18 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Classic, Glad Someone Recommended It!
First off, if you like Howard Hawks in general, or To Have and Have Not, you will love this movie. To have and have not lifts its entire plot line and much of its dialogue from... Read more
Published on July 27 2000 by Michael B.
4.0 out of 5 stars In context this is a very impressive movie.
This movie could serve as material for at least 10 hours of debate in a movie appreciation course. There are so many things to analize here. Read more
Published on July 7 2000 by Eduardo Middleton K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's Joe?
There's nothing mysterious about the "closed society" of this film if one has any knowledge of American history, literature or film of the 1930's and 1940's. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2000
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