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Men with Wings

Men with Wings(1938)

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A 1936 Los Angeles Times news item announced that Jeff Lazarus, head of the Paramount editorial staff, came up with the idea for this film, and noted that Donald Douglas of the Douglas Aircraft Company would act as technical advisor. Further, the Los Angeles Times article noted that Paramount hoped to enlist the help of Charles Lindbergh. The contributions of Lazarus, Douglas and Lindbergh to the final film have not been confirmed. A pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter noted that Cary Grant and Randolph Scott were originally considered for leading roles. Los Angeles Times reported the following cast assignments for this film: Carole Lombard, George Raft, Frances Farmer, Sir Guy Standing, Akim Tamiroff and Jackie Moran. None of these actors, however, appeared in the final film. New York Times notes that twenty stunt pilots, all members of the Association of Motion Picture Pilots, were paid fifty dollars per day to fly in this production. The pilots listed above were the only names credited in contemporary sources. An article in New York Times claims that Dr. Irving Krick, Professor of Aeronautics at Cal Tech, was hired by Paramount to detect weather conditions and in particular, to find clouds. The plot synopsis in the pressbook ends with "Pat" returning from China for the company anniversary celebration. After he sees "Scott," "Peggy" and "Patricia" together, he sacrifices his own happiness for theirs, and leaves unnoticed. According to an article in New York Times, Paramount rewrote the end of the film at the request of the U.S. government, in order to "eliminate the note of pacifism on which the picture had intended to end." The article notes that at the celebration, Peggy speaks against the use of airplanes for the purposes of war. Modern sources dispute that the government was involved in the decision. The press book notes that pilot and technical advisor Paul Mantz was also technical advisor to Amelia Earhart. The pressbook, contemporary news items and modern sources list the planes that were collected for use in this film as follows: Fokker D. VII, DeHavilland-Liberty, Hispano-Suiza Spad, Nieuport, Phalz D. XII, Thomas-Morse Scout, British S.E.V., J5 Lockheed and others. According to an ad in Motion Picture Herald, the film's budget was over $2,000,000. Special screenings included a premiere in Times Square, during which several pilots received "Men with Wings" awards, and a screening in Fort Wayne, IN on Armistice Day. The Film Guide lists the following California shooting locations: Canoga Park; Calabasas; Metropolitan Airport in Van Nuys; California National Guard Airport at Griffith Park in Glendale; Union Air Terminal, Burbank; Hangar 5 at Los Angeles Municipal Airport; Highland Park; Port Hueneme; Saugus; Mojave Desert; Imperial Valley; San Diego; and Santa Barbara. Modern sources note that the film was in production for nine months, four months of which were used to shoot the flying scenes. Modern sources claim that Wellman's 1958 film Lafayette Escadrille used footage from Men with Wings.