Ceiling Zero


Ceiling Zero (1936)




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Movie Info

Ceiling Zero is an adaptation of the Broadway play by Frank "Spig" Wead. James Cagney and Pat O'Brien are supremely typecast as, respectively, Dizzy Davis, a cocky civil aviator and Jake Lee, a sober-sided ground commander. Dizzy ducks out of a dangerous mission in order to dally with pretty Tommy Thomas (June Travis). Texas Clark (Stuart Erwin) takes Dizzy's place, and the unpolished young pilot dies in a fiery wreck. Disgraced in the eyes of his co-workers after Clark's death, Dizzy redeems himself by taking a crucial test flight in fog-laden "ceiling zero." Dizzy dies a hero, leaving behind his pal Jake to deliver the eulogy. Isabel Jewell co-stars as Clark's wife, given yet another opportunity to shake the rafters with her emotionally supercharged acting. Ceiling Zero was remade in a wartime setting as International Squadron (1940).


James Cagney
as Dizzy Davis
Pat O'Brien
as Jake L. Lee
June Travis
as Tommy Thomas
Stuart Erwin
as Texas Clarke
Henry Wadsworth
as Tay Lawson
Isabel Jewell
as Lou Clark
Craig Reynolds
as Joe Allen
James Bush
as Buzz Gordon
Robert Light
as Les Bogan
Addison Richards
as Fred Adams
Carlyle Moore Jr.
as Eddie Payson
Dick Purcell
as Smiley Johnson
Pat West
as Baldy Wright
Edward Gargan
as Doc Wilson
Garry Owen
as Mike Owens
Mathilde Comont
as Mama Gini
William "Wild Bill" Elliott
as Transportation Agent
Frank Tomick
as Stunt Flier
Paul Mantz
as Stunt Flier
Jimmy Aye
as Pilot
Jerry Jerome
as Mechanic
Gay Sheridan
as Hostess
Mary Lou Dix
as Hostess
Don Wayson
as Office Worker
Dick Cherney
as Office Worker
James Barnes
as Office Worker
Francis McDonald
as Office Worker
J.K. Kane
as Teletype Operator
Jayne Manners
as Tall Girl
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Critic Reviews for Ceiling Zero

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (1)

The overlapping, speeding dialogue is perfectly launched, as Hawks cuts to the core of the play with his own meditations on personality and responsibility.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Cagney and Travis have a bubbly, magnetic attraction.

Dec 28, 2018 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…

An entertaining adventure story of an irresponsible but great civil airline pilot.

Oct 14, 2014 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Howard Hawks' speed, vitality and precision are startling

Sep 5, 2009 | Full Review…

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