Cast & Crew
Pilot Jack Gordon, a lady's man, is eager to begin his vacation but is recalled to work before he ever gets a chance to start. His enthusiasm for working is recharged, however, when he finds out beautiful blonde Felice Rollins will be aboard his flight. He vouches for her personal check for the airline ticket, in return for which she gives him her diamond ring as collateral. Their flight is headed for San Francisco, and Jack bets with stewardess Vi Johnson that he will get to take Felice out for dinner that night. Also on their flight are little Waldemar Pitt III and his governess, Miss Harkins, Curtis Palmer, Dr. James Evarts and others. After reading of a jewel robbery involving a beautiful blonde, Jack begins to suspect Felice of the crime. When they stop over in Chicago, he rescues her from Gregorie Stephanie, with whom she is having an argument in the terminal. Despite her annoyance at his interference, Felice laughs when she finds out Jack suspects her of being a thief, showing him her picture in the paper under the socialite column. Jack apologizes for his mistaken assumption. At the same time, a suspicious Palmer sends a telegram to New York to verify Dr. Evarts' identity as a doctor. Back on board the plane, Jack finds a gun on Gregorie and throws it out the door. The plane lands again in Omaha, where Felice confesses that she had broken her engagement to Gregorie's brother, and that the brother had then eloped with her sister. She is flying to San Francisco to save her sister from the mistake of marrying him. With the help of a friend on the railroad, Jack finds out when Felice's sister's train will arrive in San Francisco. Jack takes over as pilot, but is told to turn back due to inclement weather. When Felice begs him not to turn around, Jack heads for what appears to be a break in the weather, but is forced to make an emergency landing in the snowy mountains. Jack and his co-pilot, Freddie Scott, go outside, where Evarts tells them he is a federal agent and that Palmer is a notorious killer. Palmer breaks the plane's radio and shoots Evarts and Freddie, who is engaged to stewardess Ann McKenna. Both men survive, but Freddie is unable to co-pilot the plane. In the morning, the weather has cleared, but Palmer takes the plane hostage. Little Waldemar, who up to this point has been nothing but a nuisance, cleverly fills his water pistol with fluid from the fire extinguisher and shoots it in Palmer's eyes. With Palmer quelled, Jack teaches Felice how to fly the plane, and they pilot it safely to San Francisco, where he returns her ring, and she agrees to meet him for dinner. He sends a menu back to Vi, signed by Felice for verification, asking for his two-dollar winnings, which he now needs for a marriage license.
Frank Mitchell Dazey
A. E. Freudeman
E. Lloyd Sheldon
The working title was Twenty Hours by Air. According to a news item in Daily Variety, the title was changed after aviators Wiley Post, Jimmy Doolittle and Roscoe Turner flew various flights cross country in thirteen hours. There was some controversy in the SAB records over awarding Kenyon Nicholson's credit for adaptation. However, due to contract stipulations established prior to the then new Writer-Producer Code of Practice, Nicholson received his credit. The reason for this concern has not been ascertained. According to the pressbook, Joan Bennett's stand-in, Pauline Hailey, was temporarily replaced by Vivian Dewey, when Hailey fell ill during filming. A production plane crashed during filming, but no one, including the passenger, and assistant director William Faralla, was injured. United Air Lines cooperated in the making of this film and granted their name to the airplane seen in the film. According to contemporary records, some scenes were filmed on location at Alhambra Airport, CA, in Cleveland, OH, and Beaver Dam, WI. Modern sources credit Charles Marshall with aerial photography, and note that the studio sent him and a crew on flights from Newark to Los Angeles to obtain actual footage of the flight, at an approximate cost of $10,000. Modern sources also note that the studio re-shot the ending after United Airlines representatives were granted a preview of the film and expressed disappointment with the depicted emergency landing.