Pete Sandidge (Spencer Tracy) is the reckless pilot of a B-25 Mitchell bomber flying out of England during World War II. He is in love with Dorinda Durston (Irene Dunne), a civilian pilot ferrying planes across the Atlantic. “Nails” Kilpatrick (James Gleason), Pete’s commanding officer, first transfers Pete and his crew to a base in Scotland and then offers him a transfer back to America to be a flying instructor. Dorinda has a feeling that Pete’s “number is up” and begs him to accept. Pete agrees, but goes out on one last mission with his best friend Al Yackey (Ward Bond) to check out a German aircraft carrier. Wounded after an attack by an enemy fighter, he has his crew bail out before bombing the ship and crashing into the sea.
Pete then finds himself walking in clouds, where he first recognizes an old friend, Dick Rumney (Barry Nelson). Suddenly becoming ill-at-ease after remembering that Dick went down with his aircraft in a fiery crash, Pete says, “either I’m dead or I’m crazy.” Dick answers, “You’re not crazy.” Dick ushers Pete to a meeting with “The General” (Lionel Barrymore) who gives him an assignment. He is to be sent back to Earth, where a year has elapsed, to pass on his experience and knowledge to dilettante Ted Randall (Van Johnson), first in flight school, then as a P-38 Lightning fighter pilot in the south Pacific. Ted’s commanding officer turns out to be Al Yackey.
The situation becomes complicated when Ted meets the still-grieving Dorinda. Al encourages Dorinda to give the young pilot a chance. The pair gradually fall in love; Ted proposes to her and she accepts, much to Pete’s jealous dismay. —Wikipedia
Victor Fleming entered motion pictures as a combination driver and stunt man at the Flying A studio in Santa Barbara, California, in 1912, following a series of jobs that included bicycle mechanic, taxi driver, auto mechanic (He also did a little racing on the side), chauffeur and auto salesman. Allan Dwan took credit for hiring him after he repaired Dwan’s car, but Fleming’s real conduit was his actor pal Marshall Neilan, whom he had met as a chauffeur.
After two years with Flying A, Fleming joined Neilan at Kalem, making the early Ham and Bud comedies, and in 1915, he joined the Douglas Fairbanks unit at Triangle, where he worked under Dwan and John Emerson. His first picture there was The Habit of Happiness, and he was one of several cameramen who worked on D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance in 1916. By the outbreak of World War I, Fleming was Fairbanks’ supervisory cameraman at ArtCraft Pictures. After Signal Corps service that included serving as President Woodrow Wilson’s personal… read more