As a novel the story [by John Monk Saunders] was known as Single Lady. In Liberty weekly, it was known as Nikki and Her War Birds. As a sensitively neurotic, sometime goofy, somtimes dumb but always good looking Nikki, Helen Chandler can take a bow even though her mutterings in this film may be hard to savvy for the mob. Richard Barthelmess is the consistent performer here, and with the usual wisdom of surrounding himself with a good looking and able group of young male actors.

As a novel the story [by John Monk Saunders] was known as Single Lady. In Liberty weekly, it was known as Nikki and Her War Birds. As a sensitively neurotic, sometime goofy, somtimes dumb but always good looking Nikki, Helen Chandler can take a bow even though her mutterings in this film may be hard to savvy for the mob. Richard Barthelmess is the consistent performer here, and with the usual wisdom of surrounding himself with a good looking and able group of young male actors.

It opens with a thrill and a tear to suit the femmes, who see Barthelmess and David Manners coming down in a plane and then in a hospital. Before the picture unwinds much further the two are grown into four, all as handsome, shattered airmen wandering aimlessly against life in sensitive and temperamental progress.

John Mack Brown is killed in the bull ring by a foolish jump in the Mexican arena; Walter Byron manages to cause his own death and the death of two others, Manners and Elliot Nugent, in another sequence. That gives the action a quick finish and good centre action to wind up with a plausible romance between Nikki and Barthelmess.

Direction was successful in keeping the shell-shocked side of the permanently wounded airmen continuously before the audience. The cast acts uniformly good with Barthelmess highlighting and Chandler fitting right in. William Wellman was originally scheduled to direct, but William Dieterle handled. He did German transpositions for WB. This is his first English speaking picture. His style and work as figuring here point him to a worthy spot in the megaphoning field.

The Last Flight

Production

Warner. Director William Dieterle; Producer [uncredited]; Screenplay John Monk Saunders; Camera Sid Hickox; Editor Al Hall; Music Leo Forbstein (dir.); Art Director Jack Okey

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1931. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Richard Barthelmess David Manners John Mack Brown Helen Chandler Elliot Nugent Walter Byron
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