Find Your Next Favorite Book
Our Money-Back Guarantee

Hell's Angels ()

directed by , ,
featuring Ben Lyon, James Hall, Jean Harlow, John Darrow, Lucien Prival

No one was surprised in 1929 that aviation mogul Howard R. Hughes would produce a paean to World War I flying aces like Hell's Angels. Given Hughes' comparative inexperience as a moviemaker, however, everyone was taken slightly aback that the finished film was as good as it was. The very American Ben Lyon and James Hall play (respectively) Monte and Roy Rutledge, a couple of British brothers who drop out of Oxford to join the British Royal Flying Corps. Several early scenes establish Lyon and Hall's romantic rivalry over two-timing socialite Helen (Jean Harlow). While flying a dangerous bombing mission over Germany, the brothers are shot down. The commandant (Lucien Prival), who'd earlier been cuckolded by one of the brothers, savors his opportunity for revenge. He offers the boys their freedom if they'll reveal the time of the next British attack; if they don't cooperate, they face unspeakable consequences. Roy, driven mad by his combat experiences, is about to tell all when he is shot and killed by Monte. The latter is himself condemned to a firing squad by the disgruntled commandant -- who, it is implied, will soon meet his own doom at the hands of the British bombers. Nobody really cares about this hoary old plot, however; Hell's Angels culls most of its strength from its crackerjack aerial sequences. The highlight is a Zeppelin raid over London, one of the most hauntingly effective sequences ever put on film. From the first ghost-like appearance of the Zeppelin breaking through the clouds, to the self-sacrificing behavior of the German crew members as they jump to their deaths rather than provide "excess weight," this is a scene that lingers in the memory far longer than all that good-of-the-service nonsense in the finale. Also worth noting is the star-making appearance of Jean Harlow. When Hell's Angels was begun as a silent film, Norwegian actress Greta Nissen played the female lead. During the switchover to sound, producer Hughes decided that her accent was at odds with her characterization, so he reshot her scenes with his latest discovery, Harlow. While she appears awkward in some of her scenes, there's no clumsiness whatsoever in her delivery of the classic line about slipping into "something more comfortable." Originally, Marshall Neilan was signed to direct the film, but became so rattled by Howard Hughes' interference that he handed the reins to Hughes himself, who was in turn given an uncredited assist by Luther Reed. Also ignored in the film's credits are the dialogue contributions by future Frankenstein director James Whale, who'd been hired as the film's English-dialect coach. Modern audiences expecting a musty museum piece are generally surprised by Hell's Angels' high entertainment content: they are also startled by the pre-code frankness of the dialogue, with phrases like "The hell with you" bandied about with reckless abandon. In recent years, archivists have restored the film's two-color Technicolor sequence, providing us with our only color glimpses of the radiant Jean Harlow. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Hide synopsis

Find your copy

Buy it from  $6.17
Buy new from  $10.52

Change currency
  • 1. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $6.17
    List price: $14.98
    You save: $8.81 (59%)

    Add to Cart

    Description: Ben Lyon, James Hall, Jean Harlow, John Darrow, Lucien Prival....

    Show details
  • 2. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $10.48
    List price: $14.98
    You save: $4.50 (30%)

    Add to Cart

    Description: Ben Lyon, James Hall, Jean Harlow, John Darrow, Lucien Prival....

    Show details
  • 3. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $10.52
    List price: $14.98
    You save: $4.46 (30%)

    Add to Cart

    Condition:
    New

    Ships from:
    IA, USA

    Description: Ben Lyon, James Hall, Jean Harlow, John Darrow, Lucien Prival....

    Show details
  • 4. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $11.90
    List price: $14.98
    You save: $3.08 (21%)

    Add to Cart

    Condition:
    Fine/Like New

    Ships from:
    ON, CANADA

    Description: Ben Lyon; James Hall; Jean Harlow; John Darrow; Lucien Prival....

    Show details
  • 5. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $19.77

    Add to Cart

    Description: Very Good. Disc has been inspected and appears playable.

    Show details
  • 6. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $24.63

    Add to Cart

    Condition:
    New

    Ships from:
    NY, USA

    Description: Ben Lyon; James Hall; Jean Harlow; John Darrow; Lucien Prival....

    Show details
  • 7. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $25.95

    Add to Cart

    Condition:
    Fair

    Ships from:
    NY, USA

    Description: Fair. Used, Average Condition. May Ship From Overseas, Allow...

    Show details
  • 8. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $26.95

    Add to Cart

    Condition:
    New

    Ships from:
    NY, USA

    Description: Brand New, Perfect Condition. May Ship From Overseas, Allow...

    Show details
  • 9. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $31.58

    Add to Cart

    Condition:
    Fair

    Ships from:
    GA, USA

    Description: Fair. 025192593321 This item is pre-owned-acceptable condition...

    Show details
  • 10. DVD, Astor Pictures Corporation / United Artists, 2004

    $36.58

    Add to Cart

    Condition:
    New

    Ships from:
    GA, USA

    Description: New. 025192593321 This item is brand new. Please allow 4-14...

    Show details

Reviews of Hell's Angels

Overall customer rating: 5.000
Joseph V M

See a snapshot of the past

by Joseph V M on Apr 7, 2011

This is an awesome movie with a perspective of war and its terrible side and the ingenuity of man in the early 1900's.. More

Love it or hate it? Review it now

Discussions about Hell's Angels

Start a new discussion
  1. What's on your mind? Review post guidelines

Join Today!

Share your ideas with other community members

Create account

Already a member?

Log in now

Subjects related to Hell's Angels

Get $300 in coupons and other goodies. Sign up for newsletter No, thank you.

You're signed up (and we you). Watch for our Welcome e-mail and your first coupon. Thanks!