Unemployed Bill and Toodles move in with Alabama to share expenses. Bill is hired by a gangster\'s mistress and ultimately becomes the gangster\'s bodyguard. When Alabama visits, the gangster falls in love with her and hires her as his secretary. Bill is forced to fly a plane carrying narcotics into the U.S. but fights back.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Bill Keller
Bette Davis ... Patricia \'Alabama\' Brent
Frank McHugh ... Toodles Cooper
Claire Dodd ... Mrs. Newberry
Leo Carrillo ... Kurt Weber
Harold Huber ... Steve Donovan
Thomas E. Jackson ... Detective Lt. Coffey
Parachute Jumper is a prime example of the energetic, quick-witted fare Warner Brothers was known for in the early 30\'s. This film showcases all three players: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., a blonde, southern-accented Bette Davis, and Frank McHugh, but it really spotlights Fairbanks\'s suave and humorous side. Struggling through the depression in New York City is softened by the three characters\' warm and jovial relationship with each other. They handle almost any situation with their one-liners and loyalty. Plenty of double entendres are targeted at love and authority. Fairbanks, Jr. especially handles his role with breezy panache. He deserved more material like this. I\'ll be watching this lighthearted film with intelligent dialogue and human characters again.
This pre-code movie stars Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Bette Davis as two victims of the Depression. It starts out with Bill (Fairbanks) and Toodles (Frank McHugh) being thrown out of the military for gallivanting with women when they should have been reporting back to a base. It is the wrong time to be discharged though; it is very hard to find work even as ex-pilots. Bill meets up with a beautiful stenographer named Patricia (Bette Davis) and the group teams up to find work and take care of each other. Slowly, they get involved in seedier and seedier jobs as their stomachs rumble and find themselves entangled in a dope ring.
A clip from this film was used in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? to show off \"Jane\'s\" bad acting, but Davis does well in this movie. She\'s great at delivering snappy lines and proving that you don\'t have to be dumb to be beautiful. Fairbanks is the same way, nice to look at but good to listen to as well. McHugh adds flair to the film with his distinct personality which makes him perfect for the best friend part.
This film is fast paced and enjoyable, perfect for a slow day.
This little pre-code gem packs a ton of elements (part Hell\'s Angels, part Public Enemy) into one nifty little movie. Bette Davis (who no one can disagree with, aged badly after she hit 30) looks absolutely hot here in her platinum blonde days. Doug Jr. plays an adequate lead, although his shoes could\'ve been filled by almost anyone (Chester Morris or Dick Powell leaps to mind). What I liked most was Warner\'s being unafraid to make the Depression itself a co-star (unlike other studios like RKO and Paramount that glossed over the effects of current events). Practically all the fun here would be killed off by the Production Code within 18 minths... lots of sexual references, Doug has some very non-PC cracks (one to a homosexual male secretary in the closing moments) along with the dope smuggling angle. Look for Walter (I was born looking like I was 70) Brennan gumming his way through an uncredited part as a greasy spoon cook. If you\'re looking for a crackerjack example of a pre-code programmer, look no further than PARACHUTE JUMPER.
# In 1962, producer-director Robert Aldrich was preparing the prologue to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). He chose a scene from this film and Ex-Lady (1933) to document the fact that the young Jane was a flop as a movie star.
# Was Bette Davis\'s least favorite film to do.
# Earliest film depiction of the \'middle finger salute\'