Captains of the Clouds


Action / Drama / War

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 47%
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 1520

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 21, 2022 at 01:06 PM



James Cagney as Brian MacLean
Alan Hale as Francis Patrick 'Tiny' Murphy
1.02 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 53 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 6 / 10

formulaic and, at times dopey, but still a lot of fun

Okay, I'll admit that this film is NOT Shakespeare! In fact, at times the plot is VERY VERY formulaic and silly but somehow the overall package is still quite entertaining.

Jimmy Cagney is the main lead of the film, though it actually has an ensemble cast consisting of Dennis Morgan and other Warner Brothers regulars. And unfortunately, the worst part of this film is Cagney's character, as he plays essentially the exact same character he played in so many Warner films. You know,...the brash and obnoxious guy who seems greatly in need of a comeuppance (such as in THE FIGHTING 69th and MANY other films). It's too bad, as the rest of the plot is very very good and this is a wonderful propaganda film meant to bolster support for the war. In fact, the more I think about it, Cagney's character and how it was written so derivatively is the only real problem in the film. It's a shame really, as apart from this the acting is excellent and the Technicolor scenes of the Canadian wilderness and flying are beautiful.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10

Cagney, a bush pilot

Watching Captains of the Clouds yesterday, I was struck by the fact that at the time it was made, Canada had no film industry to speak of. If they had I'm sure it would have been a different film.

I yield to no one in my admiration of James Cagney as actor. But quite frankly, he's too urban, too much from the sidewalks of New York to be a convincing Canadian bush pilot. But Brian McLean is a typical cocky Cagney character. So if you can get past Cagney's speech pattern, you'll enjoy the film.

Nice location shooting. I'm not sure where the outdoors stuff was filmed, but it looked convincingly Canadian for me. Shots of Ottawa were blended nicely with back lot studio stuff.

Of the rest of the cast only George Tobias attempts an accent and he's a French Canadien. The rest of the cast does well with old scene stealer Alan Hale leading the pack.

But the official Canadian imprimatur was put on the film because Air Marshal William Bishop appears in it in a scene where graduating fliers are given their wings. For those who don't know, Billy Bishop was the finest of air aces on the Allied side in World War I. He had more confirmed kills than anyone else. He was one of the biggest heroes in Canada at that time and still is held in the highest regard by Canadians.

One thing I am sure though. Billy Bishop may have appeared in the movie, but I can't help thinking he would have much preferred the whole thing be done under Canadian auspices if it could have been.

Reviewed by classicsoncall 7 / 10

"He's a good pilot, but he can't explain how he does it."

Throughout most of the story, Brian MacLean (James Cagney) flies by the seat of his pants, and at times it seems the movie does too. The film starts out about a handful of Canadian bush pilots attempting to learn the identity of a sneaky, job stealing rival, and ends up with the bunch of them joining the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. In between there's a love triangle between Cagney's character and his main rival Johnny Dutton (Dennis Morgan) over the affections of Emily Foster (Brenda Marshall). Emily turns out to be a self promoting opportunist who shows her true colors by eloping with MacLean since he showed up with a bankroll first. It seems the only thing Emily has going for her is her fiery good looks, as even her father bemoans her integrity when Johnny comes back for her.

You're probably best served while watching the film to stop questioning the believability of the events on screen and just kick back to enjoy the natural beauty of the Canadian wilderness and the great display of era war planes. I'm no aviation buff, but the sight of all those colorful planes at the various flight training schools was incredible. Hard to believe though that nations actually carried out a World War in such machines when considering today's science and technology.

The rest of the film's cast almost makes it seem like like they might have been going for a comedy, with a lively Alan Hale leading the way, along with George Tobias and Reginald Gardner as fellow bush pilots. Scrounger Harris (Gardner) gets some mileage out of a running gag as a penny pincher; Cagney nails his character with the line "I have no money and he's trying to borrow it". Cagney and Hale ham it up by briefly dancing with each other in another lighter scene before things get somber in the finale.

Apparently many of the RCAF fliers in the movie's graduation scene wound up heading for the War in Europe shortly after filming, receiving their wings from real life Canadian war hero, Air Marshal William 'Billy' Bishop. He appeared comfortable in his brief on screen role, perhaps in the knowledge that the film might have inspirational propaganda value.

Cagney's character has a lot to redeem himself for, and does so in the film's climactic ending. It just struck me how many times he portrays a character that dies at the end of the story, this time realizing that he has a lot to atone for. True to his character, flier MacLean turns a deaf ear to his former buddy and now commanding officer Dutton - "I'm not disobeying orders, I just can't hear you."

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