Blaze of Noon


1h 31m 1947

Brief Synopsis

In the 1920s, the four McDonald brothers leave the uncertain life of carnival stunt fliers for steady jobs with the U.S. Air Mail. They've agreed that "guys like us don't have a right to get married," but that's before Colin meets nurse Lucille Stewart and, in a whirlwind courtship, weds her. Can this marriage, or indeed any of the brothers, survive the dangers of their new profession?

Film Details

Release Date
May 2, 1947
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 4 Mar 1947
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Blaze of Noon by Ernest K. Gann (Chicago, 1946).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

In the early 1920s, brothers Colin, Roland, Tad and Keith McDonald have been performing as a stunt flying team with a carnival, when Colin convinces his brothers to sign up with Mr. Gafferty of Mercury Airlines in Newark, New Jersey, who has been contracted by the government to carry the mail by air. All the brothers are given physical examinations, and Colin falls in love with the attending nurse, Lucille Stewart. After knowing her for only eight hours, Colin proposes marriage, and Lucille accepts with encouragement from the local pastor. Porkie, the McDonalds' friend and fellow aviator, graciously finances the wedding, and shortly afterward, the mail pilots start work along the East Coast. When Lucille expresses frustration because Colin and his brothers are preoccupied with flying, Colin promises that they will soon have their own home. Just before his twenty-first birthday, Keith becomes the first victim of their dangerous occupation, crashing his plane into a water tank during a thick fog. Roland feels responsible for Keith's death, as he taught him how to fly, and he quits to work as a car salesman. Porkie is then fired after performing a dangerous stunt over a passenger train, and he joins Roland in car sales. Tad, who has fallen in love with Lucille despite his best efforts not to, crashes his plane during a violent storm. Tad survives, but can no longer fly. Lucille and Colin's marriage is tested when Colin's old girl friend Poppy asks to see him, but Colin remains true to Lucille, and they soon celebrate the birth of their son. Although Colin promises to quit flying once he is a father, he is induced to stay with Gafferty when he offers him a raise, and because he believes that flying is safer as the pilots can now communicate by radio. Colin loses his life during his first flight with a passenger, however, when his wings ice over and he crash lands. That night, Gafferty and Tad arrive at Lucille's housewarming party with the sad news. Lucille and Colin's son is later baptized as Colin.

Cast

Anne Baxter

Lucille Stewart

William Holden

Colin McDonald

Sonny Tufts

Ronald [Roland] McDonald

William Bendix

Porkie

Sterling Hayden

Tad McDonald

Howard Da Silva

Gafferty

Johnny Sands

Keith McDonald

Jean Wallace

Poppy

Edith King

Mrs. Murphy

Lloyd Corrigan

Reverend Polly

Dick Hogan

Sydney

Will Wright

Mr. Thomas

Helen Chapman

Stella

James Burke

Farmer

Bob Kortman

Farmer

Don Beddoe

Mr. Fell

Forbes Murray

Finley T. Harris

Frank Ferguson

Cash Jones

Jim Davies

Mechanic

Minerva Urecal

Woman in church

Joe Whitehead

Man in church

Marie Thomas

Lucy's assistant

Earl Hodgins

Poppy's barker

Beverly Shaw

Hula barker

Billy Curtis

Midget barker

Tom Plank

Barker

Ferrell Lester

Barker

William Meader

Barker/pilot/reporter

Lester Dorr

Sam

Julia Faye

Hatchet-faced wife

Robert Stephenson

Bandstand announcer/waiter

Len Hendry

Pilot

Hal Rand

Pilot

Jerry James

Pilot

Joey Ray

Pilot

Byron Poindexter

Pilot

Gene Ashley

Pilot

Milton Parsons

Hotel clerk

Billy Wayne

Hotel clerk

Nanette Parks

Piano player

Darlene Mohilef

Piano player

Helen St. Rayner

Piano player and singer

Donya Dean

Girl in speakeasy

Stanley Andrews

Bartender

William Haade

Man in speakeasy

George Carleton

Businessman

Billy Burt

Reporter/pilot

Kernan Cripps

Fireman

George Anderson

Doctor

Broderick O'farrell

Doctor

Boyd Davis

Doctor

Nell Craig

Nurse

Eula Guy

Nurse

Geraldine Wall

Nurse

Carolyn Butler

Nurse

Margaret Field

Nurse

Betty Allen

Nurse

Joseph J. Greene

Tilson

Franklin Parker

Jenkins

Lee Phelps

Engineer

Vera Burnett

Secretary at operations desk

Ralph Brooks

Frances Morris

John Sheehan

Jean "babe" London

Tex Swan

Lorna Jordan

Dori Marland

Major Sam Harris

Paul Lees

Film Details

Release Date
May 2, 1947
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 4 Mar 1947
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Blaze of Noon by Ernest K. Gann (Chicago, 1946).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Ernest K. Gann's source novel was the Dollar Book Club selection for December 1946.

Notes

Although Sonny Tufts' character is listed as "Ronald McDonald" in the film's final credits, he is called "Roland" in the film, and listed as such in the CBCS and copyright records. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, director John Farrow conducted research for this film by flying on American Airlines' freight lines. A review in Time magazine noted that stunt pilot Paul Mantz flew cross-country in record time "for a single-engine propeller-driven aircraft" in order to help publicize this film. An October 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that this was one of the first films produced by Paramount which was based on an unfinished story. The news item noted that "Paramount is stimulating creative writing for ultimate screen usage by commissioning authors in advance of completion of story material or at its inception...." and that the studio intended to "reach...even deeper into the field of plays and novels from the moment of the birth of the idea on which they are built."