Flight at Midnight

Flight at Midnight is a 1939 American action film directed by Sidney Salkow and written by Eliot Gibbons.[1] The film stars Phil Regan, Jean Parker, Roscoe Turner, Robert Armstrong, Noah Beery Jr. and Harlan Briggs.[2] Flight at Midnight was released on August 28, 1939, by Republic Pictures.[3]

Flight at Midnight
Directed bySidney Salkow
Produced byArmand Schaefer
Screenplay byEliot Gibbons
Story byDaniel Moore
Hugh King
StarringPhil Regan
Jean Parker
Roscoe Turner
Robert Armstrong
Noah Beery Jr.
Harlan Briggs
Music byCy Feuer
William Lava
CinematographyErnest Miller
Edited byWilliam Morgan
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • August 28, 1939 (1939-08-28)
Running time
66 minutes
CountryUnited States


Norwark's field director, "Pop" Hussey (Noah Beery Jr.), has a lot of trouble. His airport is well equipped, but a high-voltage line, located on the edge, leads the administration to close it and is given two months to find a solution. Hussey does not have the money to move the line, and the municipality is turning a deaf ear. The CAA inspector is still present, when a student pilot crashes at the landing, after narrowly avoiding power lines! "Spinner" McGee (Phil Regan) is a Midway Airlines pilot who hauls mail at night. Apart from his service with which he takes great liberties, he is a true romantic and is often love-struck.

After a hectic flight where McGee, too, narrowly avoided high voltage cables, he meets the beautiful air hostess Maxine (Jean Parker). He learns at the same time that he is suspended for two months, because of his repetitive delays and bad judgment. He then opens a flying school, with much publicity; success is at hand, to the point that his success endangers the mail flights. One day, he is test-flying a new aircraft that interests the coastguard. But he is very late, and his mechanic takes his place, who dies in a crash. McGee feels this loss very strongly.

"Pop" Hussey eventually interests the local authorities in the future of his airport, stressing he needs help. While the notables are in an aircraft piloted by Roscoe Turner, the mayor, from the air, can address the crowd below. But the aircraft has engine trouble and must land immediately but the electrical wires are in its path. Just then, an aircraft piloted by McGee, suddenly cuts in front of them, before crashing into the ground.

The airliner, and its passengers and pilot are saved, while McGee is taken to the hospital, where he finds Maxine running to console him.



Principal photography on location took place at Grand Central Air Terminal and featured famous race pilot, Roscoe Turner, who was also prominently part of the advertising for Flight at Midnight.[4][N 1]

The aircraft seen in Flight at Midnight were:


Film reviewer Frank Nugent , writing for The New York Times, was particularly blunt. "As a suggestion to the War Department, couldn't something be done about providing filmgoers with their own anti-aircraft batteries to bring down such Jennies, such crates, such menaces to commercial aviation movies as 'Flight at Midnight', which pancaked into the Criterion yesterday? For this is the baling-wired veteran of a thousand screen engagements which has, at its controls, the carefree, rule-breaking, heart-breaking pilot who has to be sobered by his best friend's death into realizing that there is a sterner code in flying, etc. With Phil Regan as the pilot, Robert Armstrong as the disciple of duty. Jean Parker as the flying hostess and a few stock shots of plane crashes, the picture should have been grounded in a neighborhood house on a double bill, not permitted to solo on Broadway."[5]



  1. Turner's role in Flight at Midnight is his only credited appearance in films, although he participated as a pilot in filming Hell's Angels (1930) and Air Hawks (1935), albeit uncredited.[4]


  1. Wynne 1987, p. 172.
  2. "Detail view: 'Flight at Midnight'." Afi.com, 2019. Retrieved: September 5, 2019.
  3. "Overview: 'Flight at Midnight' (1939)." TCM.com, 2019. Retrieved: September 5, 2019.
  4. Santoir, Christian. "Review: 'Flight at Midnight'." Aeromovies, October 21, 2010. Retrieved: September 5, 2019.
  5. Nugent, Frank S. The Screen: 'Flight at Midnight'." The New York Times, September 7, 1939.


  • 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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