Been watching a lot of Cary Grant films lately. Only Angels Have Wings is quite different from many I’ve seen in that the primary romance really takes a back seat to other inter-character relationships and the central plot. Perhaps this mirrors how Grant’s character claims any relationship between a pilot and his woman has to be: she must be satisfied without a planned life and mustn’t ever try to prevent him from flying, no matter the danger. Of course, since this is Cary Grant we’re talking about, no amount of being not particularly pleasant to a lady can put her off!
The film is set in a minor trading post in South America (the “country” rather than the continent!). Grant runs a tiny airline struggling to make ends meet by delivering post over a hazardous mountain range. There’s quite a lot of action as this little corner of the world seems plagued by almost unending bad weather, making flying and landing a matter of life and death.
The rules that apply in Angels are steadily introduced, then built upon, as are the personal conflicts between the various characters. Throw in a roster of desperate pilots who can’t get a job anywhere else and the tension can only increase.
I found the pacing prefect and was increasingly drawn in until I was sitting forward for some of the final scenes. Really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to just about anyone.