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Test Pilot (1938)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 22 April 1938 (USA)
Jim is a test pilot. His wife Ann and best friend Gunner try their best to keep him sober. But the life of a test pilot is anything but safe.

Director:

Victor Fleming

Writers:

Vincent Lawrence (screen play), Waldemar Young (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clark Gable ... Jim Lane
Myrna Loy ... Ann Thurston Barton
Spencer Tracy ... Gunner Morse
Lionel Barrymore ... Howard B. Drake
Samuel S. Hinds ... General Ross
Marjorie Main ... Landlady
Ted Pearson ... Joe
Gloria Holden ... Mrs. May Benson
Louis Jean Heydt ... Greg Benson
Virginia Grey ... Sarah
Priscilla Lawson ... Mabel
Claudia Coleman ... Mrs. Frank Barton
Arthur Aylesworth ... Mr. Frank Barton
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Storyline

Jim Lane is a test pilot, whose professional life is dangerous, and whose personal life compensates for that danger by fast living and recklessness. As such, he lives from paycheck to paycheck, and is often in debt, but knows his lucrative job will eventually get him out of those debts. On a coast to coast record attempt speed flight, Jim's plane, the Drake Bullet (named after the company's owner), hits some mechanical problems and Jim is forced to make an emergency landing on a farmer's field in Kansas. The farm belongs to the Barton family, whose straight talking daughter, Ann Barton, falls for Jim, and visa versa. They impulsively decide to get married and live in New York. Jim's sidekick and mechanic, "Gunner" Morris, doesn't know if Jim and marriage go hand in hand, both because of the type of person he is and his profession. Ann too soon learns that she plays second fiddle to Jim's work, she referring to the sky as Jim's mistress. Ann also truly comes to understand the dangers ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

YOUR GREATEST SCREEN THRILL IN 10 YEARS! (original ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Testpilot See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Y1B-17 crash scene used a mock-up at the M-G-M Studio assembled from pieces of a twin-engined Douglas DC-2 with extra engines added. See more »

Goofs

When Jim Lane and Gunner get in the B-17 and begin to taxi, there are no numbers visible on either side of the nose. The next shot (starting the takeoff roll) shows a large deformed "S8" painted on the left side of the nose, but it is actually a reversed shot of no. "82", Two shots later the B-17 nose has changed to an obviously reversed "52", along with an obviously reversed BB52 on the tail fin. All of the shots in the air and during the crash depict a B-17 without numbers on the nose or tail. After Lane rejoins the Army Air Corp and he is lecturing the B-17 crew members, the fourth B-17 in line is "52" and the fifth B-17 is "82" with both nose and tail fin BB numbers. See more »

Quotes

Ann Thurston Barton: You're a funny looking gazabo
See more »

Connections

Featured in Clark Gable: Tall, Dark and Handsome (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Goodbye Blues
(uncredited)
Written by Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields and Arnold Johnson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What Would You do if Clark Gable Landed in your back yard?
19 December 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Clark Gable is the one in the title role and Spencer Tracy is his best friend and mechanic. Test Pilot portrays a footloose and fancy free Gable doing a dangerous job because he's entranced by the beauty and danger of flying. Tracy is along to give him a reality check every now and then.

While trying for a coast to coast record Gable has trouble with a fuel line and has to make a landing in a Kansas wheat field that just happens to belong to Myrna Loy's parents. She's the farmer's daughter all right. Of course a little of that Gable charm and she's off in the wild blue yonder with him and spends the rest of the film worried about his daredevil behavior. She's not in Kansas any more.

This was the second of the three Gable/Tracy co-starrers. All three of them, San Francisco, Test Pilot, and Boom Town have withstood the test of time and have become classics.

Test Pilot's original story was written by Frank "Spig" Wead who's life story was brought to us in the film Wings of Eagles. Wead was a flyer himself until a fall in his home left him a paraplegic. After that he became a writer and several of his stories were filmed. In fact Gable and starred in Night Flight earlier on which was written by Wead. Of course Wead had a great feel for the type and character of the people who chose aviation as a career.

The aerial sequences are first rate and the players settle comfortably in their parts. It's got aerial action for the guys and romance for the gals. How can you go wrong?


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