Flight Lieutenant (film)

Flight Lieutenant (aka Flight Captain and He's My Old Man) is a 1942 film starring Pat O'Brien as Sam Doyle, a disgraced commercial pilot who works to regain the respect of his son (Glenn Ford) against the backdrop of World War II. Its advertising slogan was "roaring with thrills, throbbing with romance" with the love interest provided by Evelyn Keyes as Susie Thompson.

The Flight Lieutenant
Directed bySidney Salkow
Produced byB. P. Schulberg
Written byMichael Blankfort
Richard Carroll
Betty Hopkins
StarringPat O'Brien
Glenn Ford
Lloyd Bridges
Music byWerner R. Heymann
CinematographyFranz Planer
Edited byCharles Nelson
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 29, 1942 (1942-06-29)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States

Flight Lieutenant was directed by Sidney Salkow, a Harvard Law School grad who had himself served in the Pacific and been shot down.[1]


World War I combat pilot Sam Doyle has developed a drinking problem. In 1932, he causes the death of his co-pilot, William Thompson, and has his license revoked. A single parent, he leaves young Danny behind with a guardian and goes off to South America to find gainful employment. He leaves money to the dead co-pilot's widow and daughter, but the dead man's brother, John Thompson (Warren Ashe), wants revenge.

Danny grows up to be an expert pilot, becoming a Flight Lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corps. Thompson, now a major, becomes his superior officer. Neither has any knowledge of their shared history, even after Danny falls in love with Thompson's niece, Susie (Evelyn Keyes), and proposes marriage.

Sam Doyle returns, re-enlists and learns Danny is scheduled to test a new fighter aircraft that has a design flaw. Sam changes places with Danny at the last minute, flies but crashes the aircraft, saving future lives while sacrificing his own.


  • Pat O'Brien as Sam Doyle
  • Glenn Ford as Danny Doyle
  • Evelyn Keyes as Susie Thompson
  • Jonathan Hale as Joseph Sanford
  • Ernie Adams as One-Legged Man (uncredited)
  • Harry Anderson as Officer (uncredited)
  • Warren Ashe as Mr. John Thompson (uncredited)
  • Trevor Bardette as Carey (uncredited)
  • Hugh Beaumont as Cadet John McGinnis (uncredited)
  • James Blaine as Police Officer (uncredited)
  • Lloyd Bridges as Cadet William "Bill" Robinson (uncredited)[N 1]


Production dates for Flight Lieutenant were from March 16 to April 18, 1942.[3]

The aircraft in Flight Lieutenant were:


A review in The New York Times considered that Flight Lieutenant was a "dreary father-and-son tale" with much mawkish sentimentality. [5]



  1. Throughout 1942, Lloyd Bridges appeared in 24 films, most, like Flight Lieutenant, as "uncredited".[2]


  1. Wynne 1987, p. 172.
  2. "Filmography: Lloyd Bridges." IMDb, 2019. Retrieved: September 5, 2019.
  3. "Original print information: 'Flight Lieutenant' (1942)." TCM.com, 2019. Retrieved: September 5, 2019.
  4. Santoir, Christian. "Review: 'Flight Lieutenant'." November 30, 2013. Retrieved: September 5, 2019.
  5. Prior, Thomas (T.M.P.) "At Loew's State." The New York Times, July 31, 1942.


  • Wynne, H. Hugh. The Motion Picture Stunt Pilots and Hollywood's Classic Aviation Movies. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1987. ISBN 0-933126-85-9.
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