Cast & Crew
During World War I, Mal Andrews and Tap Johnson, American flyers attached to the Royal Air Force Squadron, scold their rakish buddy Jim Watson, who is having an affair after only being married for a year. General Trafford Jones arrives at Air Force headquarters to announce that the squadron is a disgrace to the flying corps. He orders Jim to go alone to shoot down an enemy balloon, a mission from which Jim knows he will not return. At the last moment, Mal surreptitiously joins Jim in his plane. The fliers battle with the enemy balloon, and Jim is shot, but Mal manages to fly the plane and destroy the German balloon before landing. He then sends the plane back up so it will appear as if Jim has died like a hero. Back at headquarters, Carla, Jim's widow, arrives in search of him, but the men believe that she is "Pom Pom," Jim's mistress. The fliers tell Carla of Jim's death and of the wife who must never know about Pom Pom's existence, and Mal gives Carla a watch and the letters that Pom Pom had sent to Jim. Mal, who knows nothing about women nor liquor, and a distraught Carla spend the evening together. When they end up at Carla's apartment, she scolds him for pretending to be a tough guy when he actually has been dumping his liquor in flower pots, and she admits to having done the same. Mal, by revealing his true identity as a romantic novice rather than a ladies' man, wins Carla's heart. Back at the aviators' headquarters, Tap scolds Mal for spending time with Jim's former girl friend, and Mal promises to stop seeing Pom Pom. Carla later arrives to visit Mal, who receives her coldly and accuses her of sullying him before his next mission. Major Burke of Army Intelligence calls on Jim and asks him questions about Pom Pom, who is about to be accused of espionage. Mal denies her guilt until Burke brings in the real Pom Pom, Alice Lester. The men believe that Carla is an impostor, and when Tap is announced dead, Mal realizes that Carla had overheard the details of his mission. Mal goes to Carla's apartment intending to shoot her, but he realizes that he loves her more than ever, and they are caught trying to escape. Back at headquarters, Carla reveals her true identity as Jim's wife and produces "Pom Pom's" letters, which prove Lester's guilt. On the flying field, as Mal prepares for his next mission, the lovers bid farewell and promise that they will wait for each other either in this world or the next.
W. D. Flick
Winfield R. Sheehan
The plot summary was based on a screen continuity in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, and the onscreen credits were taken from a screen billing sheet in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, both of which are at the UCLA Theater Arts Library. The working titles of this film were Squadrons and Woman and Sin. This film was also produced in a Spanish-language version, Cuerpo y alma (see below). An article appearing in Fortune magazine in August 1931 states that the short story was by Elliott White Springs and the play by A. E. Thomas, while reviews and material in the Produced Scripts Collection state that the play was by both Springs and Thomas. A biography of Springs asserts that the play made use of scenes in his book War Birds. According to the legal records, Dudley Nichols wrote material for the film that was discarded. The legal records also note that a French translation was written and that Ronald Goetz was originally cast in the role of "Major Burke."
The lengthy Fortune article contained the following information: the rights to the play, which never was produced on Broadway, were bought by Fox, at a time in which war stories were in vogue, for $15,000; the stars Elissa Landi and Charles Farrell were paid a total of $40,000; Fox signed Landi for this, her first American film, after she appeared in the Broadway stage adaptation of A Farewell to Arms, hoping she would be a draw similar to Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich; director Alfred Santell was paid $50,000; art director Anton Grot was loaned from First National; 714 extras were used for battle and cabaret scenes; 210,000 feet of film was shot; the final film includes 54 master scenes and 323 shots; the film was a day and a half over schedule because of retakes involving miniatures; the only other retake involved a scene near the end where, as originally shot, the character played by Myrna Loy takes poison-in the final film she does not take poison; Loy acted in Fox's A Connecticut Yankee (see below) on an adjoining stage during the same shooting period as this film; all the scenes involving military action over the lines was done with miniatures, including scenes of a graveyard, railroad station, airplane hangers, airplanes in flight, colliding and exploding, a captive balloon and aircraft guns; the Dunning process, a process whereby shots of actors photographed against a blue background are combined with other footage to give the effect of the actor actually being in the setting of the other footage, was used for scenes of Charles Farrell and Humphrey Bogart in airplanes; a Sikorsky plane was hired and rebuilt along German lines by Bogart Rogers; the total production cost of the film was $370,000, which included $87,000 in studio overhead; the film was previewed in Riverside, CA.
Released in United States 1931
Released in United States 1931