Hell in the Heavens


1h 20m 1934

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 9, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Flieger by Hermann Rossman (copyrighted 1931) and the English-language adaptation, The Ace , by Miles Malleson (London, Aug 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,249ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

During World War I, American ace pilot Lieutenant Steve Warner leads a group of replacements for the French Escadrille squadron headed by Captain Andre DeLaage, whose ranks of the best flyers have been drastically reduced by the German ace known only as "The Baron." When German planes strafe the base, Steve carries Aimee, a French girl who refused to leave after her father was killed at Verdun, into a trench for protection despite her spirited objections. The flyers keep the only bottle of bourbon left after the raid as the "bottle of death" to be used only to toast the downing of German flyers. During a morning patrol, Andre is shot down by The Baron, who returns his helmet by parachute. Steve, now first in command, vows to bring The Baron down. He shoots down Schroeder, a German officer who tells him that The Baron, an avid hunter of wild animals, has already shot down thirty-two pilots. When a new man, Corporal Teddy May, repeatedly turns back after going on a number of missions because of disturbing dreams he has had of falling in flames, Steve talks with him. Steve then himself has dreams of being shot down by The Baron. Steve is comforted by Aimee, who now loves him despite the fact that they can barely understand each other. When Steve's second-in-command is forced down and reports The Baron's whereabouts, Steve shoots The Baron's plane down, but during his celebration, Schroeder reports that the burned pilot was actually The Baron's younger brother. After Steve proposes to Aimee and makes plans to go with her on an eight-day leave to Paris, May's plane is shot down in flames by The Baron, who sends a message of challenge to Steve. Despite Aimee's pleas, Steve flies up alone. During their dogfight, Steve's gun jams, so he crash dives into The Baron's plane. On the ground, Steve pulls The Baron out of his plane before it explodes. When they drink a toast from the "bottle of death," Stephen is surprised to hear The Baron confess relief that he can now sleep without dreams of dying.

Cast

Warner Baxter

Lieutenant Steve Warner

Conchita Montenegro

Aimee

Russell Hardie

2nd. Lieutenant Hartley

Herbert Mundin

"Granny" Biggs

Andy Devine

Sergeant "Ham" Davis

William Stelling

Corporal Teddy May

Ralph Morgan

Lieutenant "Pop" Roget

Vince Barnett

Ace McGurk

William Stack

Captain Andre DeLaage

J. Carrol Naish

Sergeant Chevalier

Johnny Arthur

Clarence Perkins

Arno Frey

Baron Kurt von Hagen

Rudolf Amendt

Lieutenant Schroeder

Vincent Carato

Sergeant Cortez

Louis Mercier

Steve Warner's mechanic

Frank Tomick

Pilot

Earl Gordon

Pilot

Jack Rand

Pilot

Howard Batt

Pilot

Robert Blair

Pilot

Thomas Beck

Replacement officer

Patrick Cunning

Replacement officer

Fred Wallace

Replacement officer

Francesco Maran

1st Lieutenant de Beaumont

Eugene Borden

2nd Lieutenant Clement

George Renault

2nd Lieutenant D'Harcourt

Adele St. Maur

Aimee's mother

Robert Du Couedic

Corporal

Jacques Venaire

Frenchman

John M. Bleifer

Soldier

Abe Abrams

French mechanic

Stanley Blystone

French mechanic

George Kerebel

French mechanic

Jack Latham

French mechanic

Marcel Lebrun

French mechanic

Roland Mccracken

French mechanic

Louis Sainty

French mechanic

Joe Waddell

French mechanic

Ron Wilson

French mechanic

Carl Anderson

Mechanic

Jimmy Barton

Mechanic

Roger Cox

Mechanic

W. Grant Fisk

Mechanic

Gene Gill

Mechanic

Elmer Marcy

Mechanic

Ted Oviat

Mechanic

Manuel Zamora

Mechanic

Robert Bell

French orderly

Maurice Brierre

French orderly

Bob Chapman

French orderly

Arthur Dulac

French orderly

William Emile

French orderly

Louis Van Den Ecker

French orderly

Richard Clark

Pilot

Phil Ford

Pilot

Norman Frazer

Pilot

Charles Griffin

Pilot

Branch Stevens

Rittmeister Von Hagen

Paul Massoc

Paul Parry

Garland Lincoln

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 9, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Flieger by Hermann Rossman (copyrighted 1931) and the English-language adaptation, The Ace , by Miles Malleson (London, Aug 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,249ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Fox agreed in writing when they purchased the rights to the play not to make any changes "which shall in tone or form discredit the honour of Germany." In a statement in the legal records concerning a plagiarism suit, screenwriter Byron Morgan stated that the play was based on the experiences of officers and men in a German Flying Squadron and that his co-writer, Ted Parsons, who had been a member of the Lafayette Escadrille, suggested they transpose the story to take place within a French unit that included American volunteers. Morgan also stated that the character played by Andy Devine, which was created for comic relief, was the only one not in the original play and that with the exclusion of the ending and the preliminary buildup, the play was adhered to in the film version. In the play, the two leading characters are killed at the end. A letter in the legal records by producer Al Rockett states that to offset the serious nature of the story, he was "loading it with as much comedy as possible and [Herbert] Mundin, to me, is as important as [Warner] Baxter in the picture."
       Information in the legal records indicates that Rockett attempted to obtain footage from the 1929 Paramount Famous Lasky production Wings to use as stock shots, but ended up purchasing "cut-outs" from the 1930 Caddo Co. production Hell's Angels (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.2411). According to Daily Variety, location work was done at Baker's Ranch in Saugus, CA. The legal records state that the castle set was shot at Fussell Bros. Ranch in Triunfo, CA. According to a news item and information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Ketti Gallian was originally scheduled to play the female lead, and Stuart Erwin was to be in the film. The legal records state that Ferdinand Schumann-Heink was originally cast as "Baron Kurt von Hagen" and that Frank Sully worked as a writer, but it is not known if any of Sully's material was used in the final film.