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Hell Divers Reviews

A loose remake of WHAT PRICE GLORY?, this action-jammed film sees Gable and Beery as two tough petty officers in the Navy air force who are constantly squabbling but have genuine affection for each other. Both get drunk in a bar and begin to beat each other's head in, with Gable winning after a giant struggle in which the saloon is wrecked. Beery sulks about the drubbing and later gets even with Gable by ruining his romance with Jordan. During war games, Gable's plane folds up and he parachutes to a small rocky atoll. Pal Beery, along with pilot Nagel, flies through a raging storm to crash-land on the tiny island, and they, too, wind up marooned. Beery manages to fix up his plane and take off, flying to the mainland, but the craft crashes and he is dragged from the burning wreckage. Just before he dies, Beery tells Navy rescuers where Gable and Nagel are stranded, and they are finally brought back alive, thanks to Beery's brave sacrifice. Gable, in a final salute, buries Beery's body at sea. Hill's direction is top drawer, with superb aerial sequences that provide plenty of thrills. This was Gable's eighth film for MGM in 1931; he had started as a bit player that year and finished as a star with this film. Critics panned the film, but the public loved it. Gable, though he never cared for the film (nor for Beery), researched his role thoroughly by palling around with some Navy men and learned that they never took a twist with their gin, but had a slice of lemon on the side, biting on the lemon between gulps, a habit Gable was to retain for years when drinking. This film was made with the cooperation of the US Navy, shot on location in and around North Island, Panama, on board the US aircraft carrier Saratoga, and during Navy maneuvers.