Website of the Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum Last Update: Jun 21 2019

Runway Cinema 2009 Movie Schedule

For 2009, Runway Cinema was proud to feature classic aviation films of the 1930s. All movies were shown on Aaron Klugherz's amazing A/V setup.

Runway Cinema
Photo by Caroline Sheen

Wednesday: Atlantic Flight (1937)

Atlantic Flight was designed as a vehicle for Dick Merrill, a real-life pilot then very much in the news because of his record-breaking flights. Merrill is cast as flyboy Dick Bennett, the best friend of aspiring aircraft designer Bill (Weldon Heyburn). Entering a national air meet, Dick is prevented from flying by an unscrupulous phony nobleman (Ivan Lebedeff), whereupon darn-fool-kid Bill flies his new plane himself. On cue, Bill crashes to the ground, and soon is hovering between life and death in the hospital. Only a rare miracle serum can save Bill's life, but the only supply is in London. Dick volunteers to make the round-trip flight to retrieve the serum, thereby setting yet another air record (48 hours!)

DICK MERRILL - HOLDER OF THE WORLD'S ROUND TRIP ATLANTIC FLIGHT RECORD! ... America's famous Viking of the Air rockets across the stormy Atlantic.

SMASH go all records for thrills and America's hero of the skies conquers the stormy Atlantic in a front-page race against death!

STREAMLINED FOR THRILLS! Romance and excitement rocket through the skies at 3000 miles an America's famous flying hero zooms across the Atlantic on a non-stop flight to smash all records for speed and thrills!

Thrills race excitement and America's famous Viking of the Air rockets across the stormy save a man's life and find the way to a girl's heart!


Monogram Pictures
Screenplay written by Scott Darling & Erna Lazarus.
Paul Mantz, aerial supervisor and chief pilot.
Directed by William Nigh
Starring Dick Merrill, Weldon Hayburn, Jack Lambie, Paula Stone, Milburn Stone

Thursday: Men With Wings (1938)

New York Times Movie Review
Brash and vigorous director William Wellman always had a place in his filmography for movies glorifying the early years of aviation -- from the start of his career (Wings), until the end (Lafayette Escadrille). But, perhaps, never has his devotion to aviation been made more vivid than in his 1938 drama Men With Wings. Wellman, in this film, attempts to dramatize the history of aviation from the early days of the Wright Brothers until the 1930s, when airline transportation first became viable. The story centers upon two contrasting aviation types: the barnstormer, Pat Falconer (Fred MacMurray), and the methodical scientist of flight, Scott Barnes (Ray Milland). Through these two archetypes, Wellman follows Pat and Scott from childhood to adulthood. Pat marries childhood sweetheart Peggy Ransom (Louise Campbell) and they have a child. Scott, who had always loved Peggy, remains in the background, not wanting to break up his solid friendship with Pat. But Pat is clearly doomed by his recklessness and breakneck individuality. After fighting in the skies during World War I, he refuses to sit back and do the methodical work of flight research like Scott. Always searching for another war to fight, Falconer leaves Scott and Peggy behind, taking off for China to help the Chinese fight Japanese invaders.

Paramount Pictures
Screenplay written by Robert Carson.
Directed by William Wellman
Starring Fred McMurray, Ray Milland, Louise Campbell, Andy Devine

Friday: China Clipper (1936)

Love Spans the Perilous Pacific!

Inspired by Lindbergh's flight, Dave Logan sets out with a Washington-Philadelphia airline but suffers financial problems. With flying ace Hap Stuart he tries clipper ships on the Caribbean, then aims for the trans-Pacific route. His relentless ambition forces those closest to him to abandon him.

Based on the true story of Pan American Airlines, China Clipper was released only a year after the first transpacific flight in history. Pat O'Brien stars as Dave Logan, a man completely obsessed with starting the first commerical airline across the Pacific ocean. Engineer Dad Brunn (Henry B. Walthall) designs the airplane, while Dave teams up with business partner Tom Collins (Ross Alexander) to start up his company. Dave's wife, Jean (Beverley Roberts) has her doubts about the airline business, but loves her husband. Dave hires Hap Stuart (Humphrey Bogart) as the pilot to make his first flight to the Caribbean, where he ends up helping out the local people during a hurricane. Things start to go really wrong for Dave when Jean wants to leave him, his Dad gets ill, and his planes are subject to all kinds of tests. This was the last film appearance of Birth of a Nation star Henry B. Walthall, who had reportedly collapsed on the set right during production.

Warner Brothers
Screenplay written by Frank "Spig" Wead.
Directed by Ray Enright
Starring Pat O'Brian, Beverly Roberts, Humphrey Bogart, Ross Alexander, Marie Wilson

Saturday: Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings is a movie directed by Howard Hawks. It is generally regarded as being among Hawks' finest films, particularly in its portrayal of the professionalism of the pilots, its atmosphere, and the flying sequences. It inspired the 1983 television series Tales of the Gold Monkey.

While waiting for her boat, Bonnie Lee stops at a small airport in South America. The pilots there deliver mail over a dangerous and usually foggy mountain pass. Geoff Carter, the lead flyer, seems distant and cold as Bonnie tries to get closer to him. Things heat up as Judy MacPherson, Geoff's old flame, shows up with her husband who is an infamous pilot.

Columbia Pictures
Directed by Howard Hawks
Starring Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Thomas Mitchell, Rita Hayworth