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The Last Flight (1931 film)

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Genre  Drama
Cinematography  Sidney Hickox
Country  United States
7.9/10 IMDb

Director  William Dieterle
Story by  John Monk Saunders
Language  English
The Last Flight (1931 film) movie poster
Release date  August 29, 1931
Writer  John Monk Saunders (novel), John Monk Saunders (screenplay), Byron Morgan (continuity)
Cast  Richard Barthelmess (Cary Lockwood), David Manners (Shep Lambert), Johnny Mack Brown (Bill Talbot), Helen Chandler (Nikki), Elliott Nugent (Francis), Yola d'Avril (French Party Girl at Cafe (uncredited))
Similar movies  Helen Chandler appears in The Last Flight and Long Lost Father

the last flight clip 1

The Last Flight (aka Single Lady and Spent Bullets) is a 1931 American Pre-Code ensemble cast film, starring Richard Barthelmess, David Manners, John Mack Brown and Helen Chandler.


The Last Flight (1931 film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters51631p51631

Modern sources consider The Last Flight one of the few cinematic treatments of "The Lost Generation." The scarred young World War I veterans have opted out of society to drink indefinitely and almost continuously in Paris with the vivacious and beautiful woman they have befriended.

The Last Flight (1931 film) The Last Flight 1931 IMDb

the last flight clip 2


The Last Flight (1931 film) The Last Flight 1931 John Monk Saunders Hijacks the Lost

After World War I, pilots Cary Lockwood (Richard Barthelmess), Shep Lambert (David Manners), Bill Talbot (John Mack Brown)and Francis (Elliott Nugent), who are suffering from shell shock, band together in Paris. Feeling they have no future, the men are constantly drunk. One night, as they make the rounds of nightclubs, they meet Nikki (Helen Chandler), a wealthy but aimless woman, who they invite into their group. Later, when an American reporter named Frink (Walter Byron) makes a pass at Nikki, she shows no interest in him.

The Last Flight (1931 film) The Last Flight 1931 William Dieterle RareFilm

The ex-flyers move to Nikki's hotel where they continue drinking. Nikki is attracted to Cary She tags along when he goes to a cemetery where he tells her the story of Héloïse and Abelard, star-crossed lovers. When Nikki starts to cry, Cary is sympathetic until she announces that she now has names for her two turtles. With that, Cary suddenly gets angry and decides to leave for Portugal.

The Last Flight (1931 film) David Manners THE LAST FLIGHT photo 2

After learning of his plans, Nikki and the others, including Frink, follow him. On the train, Frink tries to force himself on Nikki but the other men come to her rescue. At a bullfight in Lisbon, Bill rashly leaps into the ring and is fatally gored. With Bill at the hospital, the others visit a carnival where outside a shooting gallery, Cary and Frink quarrel and Frink threatens to shoot Cary.

The Last Flight (1931 film) David Manners THE LAST FLIGHT

Without thinking, Francis shoots Frink while Shep is fatally wounded in the crossfire. Frightened, Francis disappears and the group is forever split asunder. Cary explains toi Nikki that after the war, all they had left was their comradeship. She begs to stay with him.


The Last Flight (1931 film) The Last Flight 1931 William Dieterle RareFilm

The film's pre-release titles were Spent Bullets and Single Lady. The novel, Single Lady by John Monk Saunders is based on a series of stories featuring the character "Nikki," which were published in Liberty Weekly (November 15, 1930-January 17, 1931) as Nikki and Her War Birds.

This was German-born director William Dieterle's first English language picture. Since the late 1920s, he had worked in Hollywood directing several German-language versions of American features. Variety indicates that William Wellman was originally scheduled to direct The Last Flight.

Pre-code files indicate that censors objected to sexual innuendo and skimpy clothing in some scenes in the film. Modern sources add Yola d'Avril and Luis Alberni to the cast.

The aircraft scenes in The Lost Flight were taken from The Dawn Patrol (1930).


The Last Flight was critically reviewed by Mordaunt Hall in The New York Times. He praised the film with the comment: "From flashes of air battles on the eve of the armistice, 'The Last Flight,' a picture which was offered last evening at the Warners' Strand, branches into a curious but often brilliant study of the post-war psychology of four injured American aviators. Their mad waggery and reckless drinking ends darkly for three of them, but the fourth, Cary Lockwood, played by Richard Barthelmess, finds happiness with a girl named Nikki, whose humor and outlook on life has a great deal in common with that of the fliers."

Popular culture

The most lasting impact of The Last Flight was, however, offscreen. Shortly after the film's release, Cary Grant appeared opposite Fay Wray and Douglass Montgomery on Broadway, starting on September 29, 1931 on a musical adaptation entitledNikki (1937). Grant was still billed as "Archie Leach" but adopted his first name from the character, "Cary Lockwood", whom he played on stage and the one Barthelmess had portrayed in the film version.


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