Hell Divers (1931)
Release Date: January 16, 1932
Directed by: Richard Boleslawski
Available on DVD through the Warner Brothers Archive Collection
Gable is Steve Nelson, a budding Navy pilot constantly at odds with Windy Riker (Beery), who has been in the service for years and has no patience for newbies. When Windy stages a farce that makes Steve’s girl Ann (Jordan) leave him, their relationship becomes hostile and costs one of them their position in the Navy.
Photoplay magazine, January 1932:
The combination of Wallace Beery, Clark Gable and United States Naval Air Forces results in grade A entertainment. Although it’s peacetime aviation, the flying acrobats are all there. And neither Gable nor Beery, as friendly enemies, have ever been better. The romance is secondary. The real kick of the picture is the sacrifice of one man for his pals. Those scenes will get you.
Photoplay magazine, March 1932:
Rating: Excellent. The air-minded will enjoy this Wallace Beery peace-time picture and if women enjoy he-men on the screen, Clark Gable and John Miljan are here to cheer them. The story shows that a rough guy can have the qualities that compel your admiration, that big comical dumbbell is not without charm and that situations of danger though made to appear “all in the day’s work” are very stirring. Did you ever notice how good pictures often suggest the newsreels?
Modern Screen magazine, May 1932:
Story built around the maneuvers of a naval air force. Clark Gable and Wallace Beery have the leading roles–as a couple of buddies who are either fighting each other or joining forces to scrap with someone else. There is little or no love interest but plenty of flying thrills. Very good–and grand for the kids.
“Oh yeah? If those had been real guns instead of cameras they’d be kicking dirt in your face right now. Yeah and Baldie here would be playing taps for you on the piccolo!” first line
“When we go to war with the seagulls, you’ll be great!”
“Do you realize you haven’t been out of my mind once since I met you on that boat?”
“Ann, I’m goofy about you.”
“Say, there isn’t another girl in the world for me but you.. Never has been and never will be.”
“Get your hands off of me! I ought to take a sock at you!”
“I’m glad to find out exactly what a dirty double-crossing windbag you are!”
“Yeah? One of these days one of those stupid dupes of yours is going to bounce right off your chin!”
“Hey Windy…you mind?” last line
Behind the Scenes:
The exterior scenes were filmed at a navy base near San Diego.
Gable trained for several days with his stunt double, who was an experienced navy pilot.
Gable was in the midst of a heated affair with Joan Crawford at the time of filming. His next project was supposed to be the Crawford vehicle Letty Lynton, but studio head Louis B. Mayer wanted Crawford and Gable as far apart as possible to avoid further scandal. He cast Robert Montgomery in the role with Crawford and sent Gable to make Hell Divers.