Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings Movie Review

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Only Angels Have Wings Movie Review

Only Angels Have Wings is a 1939 adventure drama film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Rita Hayworth. It is a good, but not a great film.

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I know, I know,¬†you’d never ask any woman to do anything

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Only Angels Have Wings Movie Review

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I liked this film, but just not as much as I hoped I would. It had the potential for greatness, but it just never materialized and I guess Howard Hawks is to blame as his direction isn’t great and I have honestly never been a huge fan of his and this film is a testament to that.

It is adventurous, very intriguing in setting, interesting and quite charming and romantic at times, but it mostly never finds the right balance as it tries to be a romance, an adventure, a drama and even a tragedy and thus it never establishes a proper tone. I liked it the most as a romantic drama because the relationship between Arthur and Grant’s characters is so good.

Rita Hayworth is good in her first major role that jumpstarted her career, but it is Jean Arthur who is very sympathetic as usual and Cary Grant who are the standouts. Cary Grant is one of my favorite actors and here he gave one of his best performances ever as he is so good as this macho, old-fashioned, sexist man and his humor and bravado are great. The scenes between the two were priceless with the ending being particularly sweet and memorable.

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Only Angels Have Wings Movie Review

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Only Angels Have Wings has excellent cinematography and special effects and those aviation sequences were stellar and splendid, especially for its time. The film has a good atmosphere and it features a setting and subject matter rarely touched upon in Hollywood which led to a rather authentic film. The dialogue is also very good. But the supporting characters are all very forgettable and overly abundant for sure and the film is just never as engaging as it should have been leading to what is arguably a good film, but a huge waste of potential as it easily could have been one of the greats.

Only Angels Have Wings features one of the best ever performances from Cary Grant whose humor and bravado are evident here plus Jean Arthur is as likable per usual and the two share a very interesting romance. The film is also interesting in location and subject matter, but just never as engaging as it should have been with too many forgettable supporting characters and a mix of genres that doesn’t fully work.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 1930s, 1939, Adventure, Drama, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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