The Eagle and the Hawk


1h 8m 1933
The Eagle and the Hawk

Brief Synopsis

RAF pilots fight to endure the nerve-wracking ordeal of flying in World War I.

Photos & Videos

The Eagle and the Hawk - Scene Stills
The Eagle and the Hawk - Lobby Cards
The Eagle and the Hawk - Movie Poster

Film Details

Also Known As
Fly On
Genre
War
Release Date
May 19, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,652ft

Synopsis

During World War I, American pilot Jerry Young and his aviation unit are transferred to France. Henry Crocker, who is not a proficient pilot, is left behind on Jerry's advice. On arrival in France, Jerry and his buddy Mike Richards report to British Major Dunham who assigns them to fly reconnaissance missions over enemy territory while their tailgunner photographs the area. Time passes and all of Jerry's observers are killed. The growing number of deaths greatly affects Jerry, despite the fact that he is hailed as a hero. Henry arrives to serve as Jerry's new observer, and although there is animosity between them, they successfully complete many missions and are decorated. After a bomb drops on the officers' bar and kills several new arrivals, the major gives Jerry ten days leave because he is exhibiting signs of exhaustion. Jerry goes to England and meets a beautiful woman, who consoles him. Meanwhile, Henry has been reassigned temporarily as Mike's tailgunner. Jerry returns to base just as Mike and Henry land, and Mike, who was hit during the flight, dies a few minutes later. Jerry blames Mike's death on Henry and asks to be assigned a new observer. Jerry and his young observer, John, shoot down a famous German pilot during their mission, but John is shot and falls out of the plane. That night Jerry is toasted as a hero for killing the German but he can only think about the loss of life and, consequently, commits suicide. Henry finds Jerry's body and, in an effort to maintain Jerry's hero status, surreptitiously takes the body up in the plane the next morning and riddles him and the plane with bullets. Jerry is honored in death, but Henry's sacrifice has taken its toll. While visiting Jerry's memorial, he appears downtrodden and is shooed away by passersby as though he were a bum.

Photo Collections

The Eagle and the Hawk - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from Paramount Pictures' The Eagle and the Hawk (1933), starring Fredric March, Cary Grant, Carole Lombard, and Jack Oakie.
The Eagle and the Hawk - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Paramount Pictures' The Eagle and the Hawk (1933), starring Fredric March, Cary Grant and Carole Lombard. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Eagle and the Hawk - Movie Poster
Here is the original one-sheet movie poster for Paramount's The Eagle and the Hawk (1933), starring Fredric March and Cary Grant. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Eagle and the Hawk - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to help publicize Paramount Pictures' The Eagle and the Hawk (1933), starring Fredric March, Cary Grant, and Carole Lombard. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Film Details

Also Known As
Fly On
Genre
War
Release Date
May 19, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,652ft

Articles

Cary Grant: The Early Years Collection on DVD


The TCM Vault Collection is making available a wealth of great films and performances from the Universal and Paramount libraries. The three-disc Cary Grant: The Early Years set samples the actor's work from the early 1930s, showcasing several other important 1930s performers in the bargain. All three films cast Grant as dashing and romantic military men.

1932's Devil and the Deep is an over-boiled melodrama set at a British sub base in North Africa. Commander Charles Sturm (Charles Laughton) suspects that his bored wife Diana (Tallulah Bankhead) is having an affair with Lt. Jaeckel (Cary Grant, in just his fifth film). When Sturm transfers Jaeckel out of his command Diana becomes delirious and dashes into the streets, where she is picked up and seduced by a mysterious stranger (Gary Cooper). To Diana's shock, the stranger turns out to be Sturm's new second-in-command, Lt. Sempter. Sturm deduces what's up, goes insane and contrives to wreck his submarine with both Sempter and Diana on board.

Cary Grant exits less than halfway into Paramount's Devil and the Deep, giving way to the film's leading man, Gary Cooper. The two actors have no scenes together and take turns quietly admiring top-billed Tallulah Bankhead. Ms. Bankhead slouches and suffers as the frustrated and misunderstood wife who oversteps the line of decency and never quite recovers. Stealing most every scene is the sly Charles Laughton in his American film debut. A special title introduces him as "The Eminent British Character Actor". Laughton's jealous misanthrope makes little character sense yet has more wattage than anybody else on screen.

The first half of director Marion Gering's picture reaches for the exotic look of a Dietrich film. Bankhead wanders through a crowded Casbah setting wearing only a slinky evening gown, unaccountably ignored by the teeming mobs of Arabs. Credibility suffers another blow when the background changes from Whirling Dervishes to Laughton's submarine. The plump actor seems more like a fugitive from the H.M.S. Pinafore than a navy commander; and we have a difficult time picturing him climbing through the narrow hatches. The latter scenes on the bright and roomy sub become even more absurd when Ms. Bankhead demonstrates the proper way to escape underwater wearing yet another evening dress and heels. Laughton makes a wonderfully loony madman, attacking Cooper with a hatchet while the sub fills with water.

Devil and the Deep shows its Pre-Code vintage when the adulterous Diana is afforded a happy finale with her handsome new beau. The navy is also quite forgiving considering that Sempter's romance with his commander's wife has sunk a million dollar ship of the line. Looking for prurient content in Pre-Code movies can become a bad habit, but we're still intrigued by the last scene, in which the now man-less Tallulah purchases a billiard cue stick. Cooper returns to her side almost immediately, so she apparently no longer needs it.

1933's WW1 aviation picture The Eagle and the Hawk gives Cary Grant a major role subordinated to a bigger Paramount star, Fredric March. Having won his acting Oscar for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, first-billed March had become fond of "big" acting opportunities. This show gives him a rather overstated speech about the futility of war. Directed by Stuart Walker, The Eagle and the Hawk can hold its own with other flying films of the time.

Americans Jerry Young and Henry Crocker (Fredric March & Cary Grant) enlist in the RAF, but weak flying skills cause expert gunner Crocker to be left behind. Young is soon disillusioned by the grim slaughter of air combat, and when the embittered Crocker arrives to become Young's gunner, their temperaments clash. The passed-over pilot defies the rules of flying gallantry by shooting a helpless German in a parachute. Young goes on furlough to London to clear his head but is instead bombarded with civilians eager for bloody details of his exploits. He spends a romantic evening with a sympathetic young woman (Carole Lombard) but is soon back at the airfield in France.

The picture certainly has balance: Fredric March for sober social comment, handsome Cary Grant as a he-man best buddy and the always-funny Jack Oakie for comedy relief. The misty cinematography is good, as are the flying scenes, some of which were borrowed from Paramount's silent Oscar-winner, Wings. Despite a brief scene with the stunning Carol Lombard the film now seems light on romance. Her character is given a big introduction, and then disappears.

The movie may originally have featured more of Ms. Lombard. When The Eagle and the Hawk was reissued several years later, it was unfortunately edited to eliminate racy Pre-Code content. The March and Lombard dalliance is so abbreviated, it isn't difficult to imagine a missing scene that implies that the two are cohabiting for the rest of March's furlough. A telltale jump cut at the end of their last shot together may have originally contained dialogue to the effect of, "Your place or mine?" In interviews Mitchell Leisen asserted that he had directed much of the original film. He oversaw the later revision, which added his name to the title card as associate director.

Unfortunately, when MCA acquired the Paramount library in the late 1950s it abandoned the un-cut versions of many Pre-Code titles later tamed for reissue. The original The Eagle and the Hawk may have been one of the victims.

Cary Grant's star did not begin its ascent until the second half of the decade. But he's finally given first billing in his next rugged WW1 adventure for Paramount, 1935's The Last Outpost.

British officer Michael Andrews (Grant) is taken prisoner on the Kurdistan front by locals allied with Germany. Andrews is rescued by one of his captors, who reveals his identity as "Smith", an English double agent (Claude Rains). To keep the enemy from advancing to the South, Andrews helps the determined Smith relocate an entire Balkari village across un-passable mountain terrain. Andrews breaks his leg and is sent to Cairo, where he falls in love with nurse Rosemary (Gertrude Michael). Only later does Rosemary tell Michael that she is married. Her husband John Stevenson has been gone three years on a secret mission and she no longer feels married to him. Andrews exits to fight in the Sudan, just as John returns to Cairo. He is of course the secret operative "Smith". Furious that his marriage has been ruined, Stevenson asks for a Sudan assignment -- for the express purpose of killing Andrews.

The Last Outpost is a weak adventure that does little for the fine actors involved, in particular wasting the talents of Claude Rains. The scattered story relies on the same romantic triangle just seen in Devil and the Deep and pays off with the ancient cliché of rivals one-upping each other with noble gestures. The heathen Fuzzy-Wuzzies are attacking! Who will stay to die and who will return alive to Rosemary? This is one of those movies in which the handsome military hero is the lone survivor of an enemy assault -- twice.

Cary Grant acquits himself well but none of the players seems comfortable with the creaky script, which telegraphs every plot complication at least ten minutes in advance. Claude Rains is a ruthless spy one moment and unhinged with romantic despair the next. The sensible-looking Gertrude Michael must wade through the story's soapy extremes as the nurse torn between two men. The main achievement of the screenwriters seems to be finding flimsy excuses to slip disallowed illicit content past the noses of the Production Code. Because Rosemary and her absent husband both use false names, Cary Grant's character is a completely innocent wife-stealer.

The disc's production notes tell us that two directors (Charles Barton & Louis J. Gasnier) are credited because the film was rewritten in the middle of production, with much footage re-shot. An original ending in which Rosemary dies in an auto accident was dropped, but Rosemary is still absent at the conclusion. Also mentioned is the fact that the action scenes were augmented with stock shots. The disc notes apparently aren't aware that the entire episode showing the Balkari tribe crossing a raging river is clearly from Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack's silent documentary Grass. Not only that, but later footage with jungle animals could very well be taken from the same filmmakers' Chang, and a Sudanese assault on a desert fort seems a match for Merian Cooper's 1929 The Four Feathers. At least a reel of The Last Outpost seems to have been sourced in a one-stop stock footage shopping visit.

Sultry Kathleen Burke, the Panther Woman of the classic Island of Lost Souls, makes a pleasant impression as a tribal beauty who serves Andrews a drink of goat's milk. Silent comedian Billy Bevan has a few bright lines as a British soldier, and Akim Tamiroff is a standout as an un-billed Russian executed by the "barbaric" Kurds.

The TCM Vault DVD of Universal's Cary Grant: The Early Years disc set contains excellent B&W transfers with few flaws. Devil and the Deep and The Last Outpost bear light scratches that aren't particularly distracting. No subtitles are offered.

Each film comes with galleries of stills and samples of original poster art. Trivia notes and informative essays have been culled from the Turner Classic Movies website. Robert Osborne appears as an on-screen host, positioning each show in terms of Cary Grant's career. Good looks and natural charm kept Grant's career in motion until the actor gained enough experience to take on the light comedies that made him one of Hollywood's top personalities.

To order Cary Grant: The Early Years click here. Explore more titles from the TCM Vault Collection here.

by Glenn Erickson
Cary Grant: The Early Years Collection On Dvd

Cary Grant: The Early Years Collection on DVD

The TCM Vault Collection is making available a wealth of great films and performances from the Universal and Paramount libraries. The three-disc Cary Grant: The Early Years set samples the actor's work from the early 1930s, showcasing several other important 1930s performers in the bargain. All three films cast Grant as dashing and romantic military men. 1932's Devil and the Deep is an over-boiled melodrama set at a British sub base in North Africa. Commander Charles Sturm (Charles Laughton) suspects that his bored wife Diana (Tallulah Bankhead) is having an affair with Lt. Jaeckel (Cary Grant, in just his fifth film). When Sturm transfers Jaeckel out of his command Diana becomes delirious and dashes into the streets, where she is picked up and seduced by a mysterious stranger (Gary Cooper). To Diana's shock, the stranger turns out to be Sturm's new second-in-command, Lt. Sempter. Sturm deduces what's up, goes insane and contrives to wreck his submarine with both Sempter and Diana on board. Cary Grant exits less than halfway into Paramount's Devil and the Deep, giving way to the film's leading man, Gary Cooper. The two actors have no scenes together and take turns quietly admiring top-billed Tallulah Bankhead. Ms. Bankhead slouches and suffers as the frustrated and misunderstood wife who oversteps the line of decency and never quite recovers. Stealing most every scene is the sly Charles Laughton in his American film debut. A special title introduces him as "The Eminent British Character Actor". Laughton's jealous misanthrope makes little character sense yet has more wattage than anybody else on screen. The first half of director Marion Gering's picture reaches for the exotic look of a Dietrich film. Bankhead wanders through a crowded Casbah setting wearing only a slinky evening gown, unaccountably ignored by the teeming mobs of Arabs. Credibility suffers another blow when the background changes from Whirling Dervishes to Laughton's submarine. The plump actor seems more like a fugitive from the H.M.S. Pinafore than a navy commander; and we have a difficult time picturing him climbing through the narrow hatches. The latter scenes on the bright and roomy sub become even more absurd when Ms. Bankhead demonstrates the proper way to escape underwater wearing yet another evening dress and heels. Laughton makes a wonderfully loony madman, attacking Cooper with a hatchet while the sub fills with water. Devil and the Deep shows its Pre-Code vintage when the adulterous Diana is afforded a happy finale with her handsome new beau. The navy is also quite forgiving considering that Sempter's romance with his commander's wife has sunk a million dollar ship of the line. Looking for prurient content in Pre-Code movies can become a bad habit, but we're still intrigued by the last scene, in which the now man-less Tallulah purchases a billiard cue stick. Cooper returns to her side almost immediately, so she apparently no longer needs it. 1933's WW1 aviation picture The Eagle and the Hawk gives Cary Grant a major role subordinated to a bigger Paramount star, Fredric March. Having won his acting Oscar for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, first-billed March had become fond of "big" acting opportunities. This show gives him a rather overstated speech about the futility of war. Directed by Stuart Walker, The Eagle and the Hawk can hold its own with other flying films of the time. Americans Jerry Young and Henry Crocker (Fredric March & Cary Grant) enlist in the RAF, but weak flying skills cause expert gunner Crocker to be left behind. Young is soon disillusioned by the grim slaughter of air combat, and when the embittered Crocker arrives to become Young's gunner, their temperaments clash. The passed-over pilot defies the rules of flying gallantry by shooting a helpless German in a parachute. Young goes on furlough to London to clear his head but is instead bombarded with civilians eager for bloody details of his exploits. He spends a romantic evening with a sympathetic young woman (Carole Lombard) but is soon back at the airfield in France. The picture certainly has balance: Fredric March for sober social comment, handsome Cary Grant as a he-man best buddy and the always-funny Jack Oakie for comedy relief. The misty cinematography is good, as are the flying scenes, some of which were borrowed from Paramount's silent Oscar-winner, Wings. Despite a brief scene with the stunning Carol Lombard the film now seems light on romance. Her character is given a big introduction, and then disappears. The movie may originally have featured more of Ms. Lombard. When The Eagle and the Hawk was reissued several years later, it was unfortunately edited to eliminate racy Pre-Code content. The March and Lombard dalliance is so abbreviated, it isn't difficult to imagine a missing scene that implies that the two are cohabiting for the rest of March's furlough. A telltale jump cut at the end of their last shot together may have originally contained dialogue to the effect of, "Your place or mine?" In interviews Mitchell Leisen asserted that he had directed much of the original film. He oversaw the later revision, which added his name to the title card as associate director. Unfortunately, when MCA acquired the Paramount library in the late 1950s it abandoned the un-cut versions of many Pre-Code titles later tamed for reissue. The original The Eagle and the Hawk may have been one of the victims. Cary Grant's star did not begin its ascent until the second half of the decade. But he's finally given first billing in his next rugged WW1 adventure for Paramount, 1935's The Last Outpost. British officer Michael Andrews (Grant) is taken prisoner on the Kurdistan front by locals allied with Germany. Andrews is rescued by one of his captors, who reveals his identity as "Smith", an English double agent (Claude Rains). To keep the enemy from advancing to the South, Andrews helps the determined Smith relocate an entire Balkari village across un-passable mountain terrain. Andrews breaks his leg and is sent to Cairo, where he falls in love with nurse Rosemary (Gertrude Michael). Only later does Rosemary tell Michael that she is married. Her husband John Stevenson has been gone three years on a secret mission and she no longer feels married to him. Andrews exits to fight in the Sudan, just as John returns to Cairo. He is of course the secret operative "Smith". Furious that his marriage has been ruined, Stevenson asks for a Sudan assignment -- for the express purpose of killing Andrews. The Last Outpost is a weak adventure that does little for the fine actors involved, in particular wasting the talents of Claude Rains. The scattered story relies on the same romantic triangle just seen in Devil and the Deep and pays off with the ancient cliché of rivals one-upping each other with noble gestures. The heathen Fuzzy-Wuzzies are attacking! Who will stay to die and who will return alive to Rosemary? This is one of those movies in which the handsome military hero is the lone survivor of an enemy assault -- twice. Cary Grant acquits himself well but none of the players seems comfortable with the creaky script, which telegraphs every plot complication at least ten minutes in advance. Claude Rains is a ruthless spy one moment and unhinged with romantic despair the next. The sensible-looking Gertrude Michael must wade through the story's soapy extremes as the nurse torn between two men. The main achievement of the screenwriters seems to be finding flimsy excuses to slip disallowed illicit content past the noses of the Production Code. Because Rosemary and her absent husband both use false names, Cary Grant's character is a completely innocent wife-stealer. The disc's production notes tell us that two directors (Charles Barton & Louis J. Gasnier) are credited because the film was rewritten in the middle of production, with much footage re-shot. An original ending in which Rosemary dies in an auto accident was dropped, but Rosemary is still absent at the conclusion. Also mentioned is the fact that the action scenes were augmented with stock shots. The disc notes apparently aren't aware that the entire episode showing the Balkari tribe crossing a raging river is clearly from Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack's silent documentary

The Eagle and the Hawk


Carole Lombard is prominently billed in The Eagle and the Hawk (1933), just below Fredric March and Cary Grant, and ahead of Jack Oakie and Sir Guy Standing. Although she was on the brink of becoming Hollywood's queen of comedy, there's no comedy here and in no way can it be thought of as her film. It's a dark, brave, bitter, unexpectedly potent antiwar movie, neglected dynamite, built around Fredric March's growing disillusionment as an ever-increasingly lauded World War I flying ace. Lombard has only one scene, a frankly parenthetical one, but it's not unimportant. Just as jovial Oakie provides comic relief to the stressed Allied combat pilots in France, Lombard's job is to provide respite to March's pilot, Jerry Young, who begins the war almost in a state of high gamesmanship (the introductory credits depict him in polo gear!) that quickly nosedives as the dead bodies pile up around him.

When the war becomes up close and personal, his guilt snowballs after five of the reconnaissance photographers who double as gunners sitting behind him are killed while he keeps making it back alive. "I'm a chauffeur for a graveyard, driving men to their deaths, day after day," he growls, with a growing sense of horror, adding the words that carry the film's theme and his distress: "for what?" Standing's stolid base commander, whose job it is to keep things together as he steadily erases the names of the dead on his blackboard at headquarters and chalks in the new cannon fodder, sees Young drink himself into oblivion after each mission. Realizing Young is in danger of cracking up, and not wanting to lose his best pilot, the CO sends him to London for ten days' leave.

Enter Lombard. Her character, swathed in white furs, nameless and billed only as "Beautiful Lady," is moved by his discomfort at a party, where, far from relaxing into a momentary time out, he squirms, unable to escape his hero image, especially when the hostess' little boy speaks of emulating him, and with boyish enthusiasm asks him how he does it. Fleeing, he's followed by Lombard's gowned socialite, who steps into his cab, "Can I drop you somewhere?" he asks. "I don't want to be dropped," she replies, "I want a cigarette. I think you need a glass of champagne." Battle fatigued, then bottle fatigued, he all but collapses into her arms, tells her of his conflict and torment. On a bench in a park, they share the bubbly. She offers a soothing, sympathetic ear, and, it's clear, more. "You've been awfully kind," he says. "I want to be kind," is her reply.

It's Lombard before she became Lombard. Ernst Lubitsch, at the time studio boss of Paramount, where the film was made, had been telling Lombard she was undervaluing her own talent. He encouraged her to try more serious roles. But in this film, her 37th and her fifth to be released in 1933, she was disappointed not to be given more to do. A year later, in 1934, Howard Hawks cast her in Twentieth Century, and she never looked back. My Man Godfrey (1936), Nothing Sacred (1937) and To Be or Not to Be (1942, released months after she died in a plane crash outside Las Vegas while returning to Los Angeles from a War Bond rally in her native Indiana) insured her stardom and place in film history. But something of the warmth and openness, and even a hint of the bluntness and bawdiness that made the famously tomboyish and down-to-earth Lombard so beloved can be detected in the sincerity and generosity she projects in her punctuating role as sadly fleeting R&R for March's nearly-shattered pilot.

It's also Grant before he became Grant. War movies often revolve around antagonists on the same side – What Price Glory? (1926), Wings (1927) -- competing for a woman. In The Eagle and the Hawk, the ongoing clash between March's and Grant's characters is nominally motivated by March getting the higher-ups to divert Grant's Henry Crocker from his ambition to pilot a plane to a seat behind the pilot as photographer/gunner – a role for which he's better suited. Really, though, they're on different sides of a values gap. Young is honor-bound, driven by a sense of noblesse oblige. Crocker sees Young's chivalry not only as an impediment, but as possible suicide when facing a determined enemy.

Young is filled with self-disgust when the German flying ace he shoots down is revealed to be, in his words, "a boy." Earlier, when Young angrily berates the gunner for shooting a parachuting German to death, Crocker snarls: "This is a war. I'm hired to kill the enemy, and there ain't no book of rules about that. Every one I put away means one less to kill me. That's my job and I'm doing it." The words "ain't" and, earlier, "yeah," do not fall naturally from Grant's lips. But this is Grant as yet not fully formed, before he arrived at the suave persona that carried him to, and through, stardom. Still, there always was something hard-edged about Grant. In such films as Suspicion (1941) and Notorious (1946), we're convinced he could be a nasty piece of work. Here, he's not entirely at home in the standard American tough-guy masculinity he's assigned. But his spine and anger get the job done, especially in their plane, with its logo of death wielding a scythe.

So does Oakie get the supporting job done. He's entirely at home in his blustery salt-of-the-earth genial mode -- until he dies in Young's arms. Made in a time when the world was fascinated with aviation, the flight sequences – many borrowed from Wings, Lilac Time (1928) and The Dawn Patrol (1930) and utilizing anachronistic planes -- are smoothly integrated into the film. (John Monk Saunders got story credit for this film, Wings and The Dawn Patrol). Stuart Walker is listed as director, although Mitchell Leisen, later to be known for romantic comedies, claimed at the time of his reworked version of the 1939 re-release that he had directed much of the original. Either way, it crackles with urgency.

The big reason is March. He's superb as the noble soul impaled on his own high ethical standard. Incisive without ever being pompous, underplaying touchingly in such scenes as his confrontation with the hero-worshipping English boy, he's graceful always, even when we feel him corroding from within. His sharply etched character is heroic in his high-minded anti-heroism, increasingly unable to fight with conviction a war that has become an end in itself, chewing up human lives. Ever more alienated from his hero's mantle by his unsparing perception of himself as murderer, he's the film's soul as it makes its points with a grim, unflinching integrity that compels respect and makes you wonder why The Eagle and the Hawk isn't better known. It fully deserves a place alongside that foremost WWI antiwar film, All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and the seismic values shift that animates Jean Renoir's great The Grand Illusion (1937).

Producer: Bayard Veiller (uncredited)
Director: Stuart Walker
Screenplay: Seton I. Miller, Bogart Rogers; John Monk Saunders (story "Death in the Morning")
Cinematography: Harry Fischbeck
Music: John Leipold (uncredited)
Cast: Fredric March (Jerry H. Young), Cary Grant (Henry Crocker), Jack Oakie (Mike Richards), Carole Lombard (the Beautiful Lady), Guy Standing (Major Dunham), Forrester Harvey (Hogan), Kenneth Howell (John Stevens), Leyland Hodgson (Kingsford), Virginia Hammond (Lady Erskine), Douglas Scott (Tommy Erskine), Robert Manning (Voss)
BW-68m.

by Jay Carr

SOURCES:
Screwball: The Life of Carole Lombard, by Larry Swindell, Morrow
The Films of Carole Lombard, by Frederick W. Ott, Citadel
The Films of Fredric March, by Lawrence J. Quirk, Citadel
Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart, by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley, Avon
Cary Grant: A Touch of Elegance, by Warren G. Harris, Zebra
IMDb
AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Review by Mordaunt Hall, New York times, May 13, 1933

The Eagle and the Hawk

Carole Lombard is prominently billed in The Eagle and the Hawk (1933), just below Fredric March and Cary Grant, and ahead of Jack Oakie and Sir Guy Standing. Although she was on the brink of becoming Hollywood's queen of comedy, there's no comedy here and in no way can it be thought of as her film. It's a dark, brave, bitter, unexpectedly potent antiwar movie, neglected dynamite, built around Fredric March's growing disillusionment as an ever-increasingly lauded World War I flying ace. Lombard has only one scene, a frankly parenthetical one, but it's not unimportant. Just as jovial Oakie provides comic relief to the stressed Allied combat pilots in France, Lombard's job is to provide respite to March's pilot, Jerry Young, who begins the war almost in a state of high gamesmanship (the introductory credits depict him in polo gear!) that quickly nosedives as the dead bodies pile up around him. When the war becomes up close and personal, his guilt snowballs after five of the reconnaissance photographers who double as gunners sitting behind him are killed while he keeps making it back alive. "I'm a chauffeur for a graveyard, driving men to their deaths, day after day," he growls, with a growing sense of horror, adding the words that carry the film's theme and his distress: "for what?" Standing's stolid base commander, whose job it is to keep things together as he steadily erases the names of the dead on his blackboard at headquarters and chalks in the new cannon fodder, sees Young drink himself into oblivion after each mission. Realizing Young is in danger of cracking up, and not wanting to lose his best pilot, the CO sends him to London for ten days' leave. Enter Lombard. Her character, swathed in white furs, nameless and billed only as "Beautiful Lady," is moved by his discomfort at a party, where, far from relaxing into a momentary time out, he squirms, unable to escape his hero image, especially when the hostess' little boy speaks of emulating him, and with boyish enthusiasm asks him how he does it. Fleeing, he's followed by Lombard's gowned socialite, who steps into his cab, "Can I drop you somewhere?" he asks. "I don't want to be dropped," she replies, "I want a cigarette. I think you need a glass of champagne." Battle fatigued, then bottle fatigued, he all but collapses into her arms, tells her of his conflict and torment. On a bench in a park, they share the bubbly. She offers a soothing, sympathetic ear, and, it's clear, more. "You've been awfully kind," he says. "I want to be kind," is her reply. It's Lombard before she became Lombard. Ernst Lubitsch, at the time studio boss of Paramount, where the film was made, had been telling Lombard she was undervaluing her own talent. He encouraged her to try more serious roles. But in this film, her 37th and her fifth to be released in 1933, she was disappointed not to be given more to do. A year later, in 1934, Howard Hawks cast her in Twentieth Century, and she never looked back. My Man Godfrey (1936), Nothing Sacred (1937) and To Be or Not to Be (1942, released months after she died in a plane crash outside Las Vegas while returning to Los Angeles from a War Bond rally in her native Indiana) insured her stardom and place in film history. But something of the warmth and openness, and even a hint of the bluntness and bawdiness that made the famously tomboyish and down-to-earth Lombard so beloved can be detected in the sincerity and generosity she projects in her punctuating role as sadly fleeting R&R for March's nearly-shattered pilot. It's also Grant before he became Grant. War movies often revolve around antagonists on the same side – What Price Glory? (1926), Wings (1927) -- competing for a woman. In The Eagle and the Hawk, the ongoing clash between March's and Grant's characters is nominally motivated by March getting the higher-ups to divert Grant's Henry Crocker from his ambition to pilot a plane to a seat behind the pilot as photographer/gunner – a role for which he's better suited. Really, though, they're on different sides of a values gap. Young is honor-bound, driven by a sense of noblesse oblige. Crocker sees Young's chivalry not only as an impediment, but as possible suicide when facing a determined enemy. Young is filled with self-disgust when the German flying ace he shoots down is revealed to be, in his words, "a boy." Earlier, when Young angrily berates the gunner for shooting a parachuting German to death, Crocker snarls: "This is a war. I'm hired to kill the enemy, and there ain't no book of rules about that. Every one I put away means one less to kill me. That's my job and I'm doing it." The words "ain't" and, earlier, "yeah," do not fall naturally from Grant's lips. But this is Grant as yet not fully formed, before he arrived at the suave persona that carried him to, and through, stardom. Still, there always was something hard-edged about Grant. In such films as Suspicion (1941) and Notorious (1946), we're convinced he could be a nasty piece of work. Here, he's not entirely at home in the standard American tough-guy masculinity he's assigned. But his spine and anger get the job done, especially in their plane, with its logo of death wielding a scythe. So does Oakie get the supporting job done. He's entirely at home in his blustery salt-of-the-earth genial mode -- until he dies in Young's arms. Made in a time when the world was fascinated with aviation, the flight sequences – many borrowed from Wings, Lilac Time (1928) and The Dawn Patrol (1930) and utilizing anachronistic planes -- are smoothly integrated into the film. (John Monk Saunders got story credit for this film, Wings and The Dawn Patrol). Stuart Walker is listed as director, although Mitchell Leisen, later to be known for romantic comedies, claimed at the time of his reworked version of the 1939 re-release that he had directed much of the original. Either way, it crackles with urgency. The big reason is March. He's superb as the noble soul impaled on his own high ethical standard. Incisive without ever being pompous, underplaying touchingly in such scenes as his confrontation with the hero-worshipping English boy, he's graceful always, even when we feel him corroding from within. His sharply etched character is heroic in his high-minded anti-heroism, increasingly unable to fight with conviction a war that has become an end in itself, chewing up human lives. Ever more alienated from his hero's mantle by his unsparing perception of himself as murderer, he's the film's soul as it makes its points with a grim, unflinching integrity that compels respect and makes you wonder why The Eagle and the Hawk isn't better known. It fully deserves a place alongside that foremost WWI antiwar film, All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and the seismic values shift that animates Jean Renoir's great The Grand Illusion (1937). Producer: Bayard Veiller (uncredited) Director: Stuart Walker Screenplay: Seton I. Miller, Bogart Rogers; John Monk Saunders (story "Death in the Morning") Cinematography: Harry Fischbeck Music: John Leipold (uncredited) Cast: Fredric March (Jerry H. Young), Cary Grant (Henry Crocker), Jack Oakie (Mike Richards), Carole Lombard (the Beautiful Lady), Guy Standing (Major Dunham), Forrester Harvey (Hogan), Kenneth Howell (John Stevens), Leyland Hodgson (Kingsford), Virginia Hammond (Lady Erskine), Douglas Scott (Tommy Erskine), Robert Manning (Voss) BW-68m. by Jay Carr SOURCES: Screwball: The Life of Carole Lombard, by Larry Swindell, Morrow The Films of Carole Lombard, by Frederick W. Ott, Citadel The Films of Fredric March, by Lawrence J. Quirk, Citadel Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart, by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley, Avon Cary Grant: A Touch of Elegance, by Warren G. Harris, Zebra IMDb AFI Catalog of Feature Films Review by Mordaunt Hall, New York times, May 13, 1933

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Notes

The working title of the film was Fly On. A script dated January 30, 1933 in the Paramount story files at the AMPAS Library lists Gary Cooper in the role of "Lieut. Henry Crocker." A news item in Hollywood Reporter indicates that production was initially postponed so that Cooper could appear in another film before beginning work on this film. According to a contemporary article, George Raft was considered for the part of "Jerry Young." The film's pressbook notes that twelve members of the "Suicide Squadron," formally known as the Associated Motion Picture Pilots, appear in the film. The Squadron made its debut in Paramount's 1929 film Wings, directed by William Wellman, but by the time that this film was produced, fifteen members had been killed, according to the pressbook. Other pressbook credits note that J. M. Stembridge provided guns for the film, and Gaston Duval, who was in charge of the Paramount medals collection, supervised their distribution for this film. An article in New York Times notes that during production, a premature explosion trapped March and Grant under fallen beams. Grant supported one of the beams, saving March from serious injury, but did suffer some internal injuries himself.
       A modern source notes that when the film was re-released in 1939, Mitchell Leisen, who is credited as associate director, was given co-director credit, and several scenes were cut to comply with the Hays Production Code. In a modern interview, Leisen states that he was responsible for the majority of the direction on the film, and Stuart Walker acted more as an assistant director, however, Leisen had no contract with the studio and Stuart Walker's contract deemed he be given full directorial credit. In addition, Leisen states that stock footage from Wings was used. Modern sources credit Edgar Anderson as a pilot and stand-in for Fredric March, and Garland Lincoln as a pilot. In addition, modern sources claim that footage of a Dick Grace crash scene from the 1928 First National film Lilac Time was used, as well as a scene from First National's 1930 film The Dawn Patrol. (For Wings, Lilac Time and The Dawn Patrol, see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.6404, F2.3089 and F2.1237 respectively).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1933

Released in United States on Video June 10, 1997

Released in United States 1933

Released in United States on Video June 10, 1997