Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 1939
Country: United States
Run Time: 121 minutes


ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS is one of the most important films directed by Howard Hawks. It is the best embodiment of Hawks' respect for men who risk their lives purely out of a sense of professional duty; and it depicts most poignantly the intense loyalties and warm friendships that develop among such men. As in many of his films, Hawks portrays a small group of people, cut off almost entirely from the outside world, (which is represented by darkness). These individuals, forming a closed society, establish unique values and responsibilities in order to deal with the constant dangers surrounding them.

Hawks' personal vision is set forth in the context of a thoroughly unpretentious, often humorous aviation melodrama. In the small South American town of Barranca, a group of pilots try to maintain regular mail deliveries, although flying conditions are generally impossible. The central characters are Jeff Carter (Cary Grant), the head of operations, who must face the responsibility of sending out men to possible deaths; Kid (Thomas Mitchell), his best friend, who refuses to give up flying despite failing eyesight; and Bat (Richard Barthelmess) who once abandoned a plane, leaving another man to die, and is now trying to regain his self-respect. Stranded in this desolate outpost is Bonnie Lee (Jean Arthur), a young woman who becomes involved with Jeff, and who comes to understand the special code by which these men live. (Mac.)

Jules Furthman

Howard Hawks

Elmer Dyer and Joseph Walker

Principal Cast
Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Richard Barthelmess, Thomas Mitchell, Rita Hayworth, Sig Ruman

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