Tuesday, May 06, 2008


John Beal is a young man who is following in his father's footsteps and becoming a physician. He's engaged to be married to Jane Walsh, who complains that Beal hasn't quite found himself yet--his father thinks his problem is that he has too much youthful exhilaration, as evidenced by the hot-dogging flights he takes in his private plane. One stormy night, Beal gives a young lady a ride to Philadelphia in his plane, but he crashes. He survives but she dies and a love tryst is assumed. Beal is put on probation by the medical board, and Walsh won't leave the big city as Beal wants to, so Beal sets out alone to find himself. He changes his name, rides the rails, works on a road crew, and, out in L.A. where he's befriended by old pal Phillip Huston, gets a job as an airplane mechanic. He starts a flirtatious relationship with ambulance corps nurse Joan Fontaine and, despite his reluctance, she gets him to fly an emergency run (with hysterical patient Dwight Frye). When he's hired as a pilot, she discovers his true identity, as does a reporter named Nosey (Jimmy Conlin). Fontaine tries to arrange a reconciliation between Beal and his father, and things climax with a train wreck in which Beal proves he still has his doctoring skills, and perhaps has finally found himself. That's about all there is to this predictable melodrama, which is a perfectly acceptable way to pass an hour. The biggest surprise is seeing roly-poly comic actor Billy Gilbert (Pettibone in HIS GIRL FRIDAY) in a small but serious role as a train-riding hobo. [TCM]

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