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Flying High [Bert Lahr]

Flying High (1931) starrring Bert Lahr, Charlotte Greenwood

Flying High is Bert Lahr’s film debut – and a screwball comedy. He’s creating an early prototype of the helicopter … but needs money. Charlotte Greenwood has money, but needs a husband …

Review

Flying High is an early film comedy, starring two funny people. Bert Lahr is a shy man, building an “aerocopter”. Think of it as an early helicopter. Charlotte Greenwood is an “old maid” searching for a husband. She offers $500 for a husband, that Lahr’s partner, Pat O’Brien, desperately needs for their almost-bankrupt firm. With that money, they could enter a contest … and if they win, the sky’s the limit!

After a zany “medical exam”, the sky’s literally the limit. Bert takes the ship up for it’s maiden flight, with Charlotte coming aboard against his wishes. Up is easy, but down isn’t! He saves her life, but he’s going to die … unless he can think of something clever, and save the day.

Conclusion

Flying High is an interesting, early film comedy. Some of it’s slower paced, some of it’s silly, but much of it’s zany. And the ending makes it worth watching.

Editorial review of Flying High courtesy of Amazon.com

Man-crazy waitress Pansy Potts (Charlotte Greenwood) offers $500 for a husband. She gets Clark Gable. Well…she gets his photo, a come-on to meet penniless aerocopter inventor and all-around goofball Rusty Krouse (film-debuting Bert Lahr who, wouldn’t you know, doesn’t look a bit like Gable). Rusty wants the $500 as much as Pansy wants a husband. After a series of comic adventures – including a wild scene in a doctor’s office and sky-high hijinks in the aerocopter – they both get their wish. Based on legendary showman George White’s Broadway hit starring Lahr, Flying High features musical numbers staged by Busby Berkeley and two splendidly unique comic talents in their only screen pairing. Fun and music, ready for takeoff!

Cast of characters

  • Bert Lahr as Emil “Rusty” Krouse
  • Charlotte Greenwood as Pansy Potts
  • Pat O’Brien as “Sport” Wardell
  • Kathryn Crawford as Miss Eileen Smith
  • Charles Winninger as Dr. Brown
  • Hedda Hopper as Mrs. Smith
  • Guy Kibbee as Mr. Fred Smith

Songs

  • I’ll Make a Happy Landing. Lyrics by Dorothy Fields, music by Jimmy McHugh.
  • It’ll Be the First Time for Me. Lyrics by Dorothy Fields, music by Jimmy McHugh.
  • We’ll Dance Until the Dawn. Lyrics by Dorothy Fields, music by Jimmy McHugh.

Trivia

  • The musical numbers “Happy Landing” and “Dance Until Dawn” were re-used in the MGM short Plane Nuts (1933) with the Three Stooges.
  • The film’s musical numbers feature some of choreographer Busby Berkeley’s earliest film work.

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