Wings of Adventure (August 1, 1930)

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Wings of Adventure
 

Released on August 1, 1930: An Army airplane pilot and his mechanic are captured by banditos when their plane strays into Mexico and has mechanical trouble.

Directed by Richard Thorpe

The Actors: Rex Lease (pilot Dave Kent), Armida (Maria Valdez), Clyde Cook (airplane mechanic Pete 'Skeets' Smith), Fred Malatesta (President Don Ricardo Diaz San Pablo La Pandella, 'La Panthera'), Nadja (cabaret dancer), Eddie Boland (Viva), Charles K. French (Army Major), Nick De Ruiz (Manuel, bandito leader), Bruce Covington (soldier), Steve Clemente (bandito), Chris-Pin Martin (bandito Lopez)

 

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The Three Almost-Stars

This movie features three actors who entertained America during the dawn of motion pictures, and all had as much talent as some of the biggest stars of the day, but all three rose to almost-stardom and then just faded away for some reason or other. Clyde Cook was born in Australia and his accent made him an instant hit when talking pictures began. With the body of a contortionist physical comedy became his focus and his American stage debut was with the famed Ziegfeld Follies. He then moved to California and acted in more than 100 motion pictures, appearing for the final time in the 1963 John Wayne movie "Donovan's Reef." In this adventure he is an airplane mechanic in an Army airplane flown by pilot Dave Kent, played by Rex Lease. Tall, handsome and well-spoken Rex Lease at first thought he wanted to be a preacher, but the bright lights of Hollywood called him a bit stronger than the Good Book. Rex Lease started working in motion pictures as the leading man like in this movie, but soon he started being cast as the side-kick to the leading man, and was never in the right part at the right time to become the big marquee star. For most of his later career he was type-cast in cowboy western movies, appearing in almost 300 motion pictures and television shows before retiring from acting in 1960. In this story he is the pilot of an airplane that is stranded in Mexico and before his mechanic can get the airplane fixed they are captured by a band of Mexican banditos and forced to join them and their leader, The Panther, a Mexican revolutionary who wants to become El Presidenté with the help of his band of banditos. The Panther wants to marry beautiful Maria Valdez, played by Armida, and our pilot and mechanic discover her trapped in the small town jail waiting for the Panther to come and marry her against her will. Armida Vendrell and her two sisters were dancing in a Los Angeles Vaudeville theater when a promoter convinced her to become a solo act and she moved quickly from the Vaudeville stage to motion pictures. John Barrymore saw her and immediately cast her in his next movie, and she was then quickly signed to a long term movie contract. In spite of her beauty, dancing, singing and fiery Latin temper that made her look even more beautiful, Armida only managed to appear in 34 movies, finally leaving the motion picture industry in 1951. But here, in this rousing adventure from Tiffany Pictures, these three provide the excitement and adventure that will probably not leave you breathless from suspense and screen thrills . . . But you will enjoy an exceedingly entertaining hour of adventure and romance that will keep you smiling as you munch on your big bowl of white kernel popcorn with lots of warm melted butter drizzled over it . . . Oh, and before I go, I'd like to share a 'hunch' . . . Near the beginning of the story we watch a Latino cantina dancer for no apparent reason in the story line . . . I cannot find any information on who this gal is . . . but I am betting that the one-name actress 'Nadja' might just be one of Armida's sisters who was part of the original three sister dance team!

Armida
Armida
Armida and Fred Malatesta
Armida and Fred Malatesta
Armida and Rex Lease
Armida and Rex Lease
Armida in the Mexican jail
Armida in the Mexican jail
Armida meets Rex Lease
Armida meets Rex Lease
Armida Vendrell
Armida Vendrell
Bruce Covington and Charles K. French
Bruce Covington and Charles K. French
Chris-Pin Martin
Chris-Pin Martin
Clyde Cook and Rex Lease
Clyde Cook and Rex Lease
Clyde Cook in the airplane
Clyde Cook in the airplane
Clyde Cook
Clyde Cook
Clyde Cook says goodbye to Rex Lease before the firing squad
Clyde Cook says goodbye to Rex Lease before the firing squad
Fred Malatesta
Fred Malatesta
Fred Malatesta and Nick De Ruiz
Fred Malatesta and Nick De Ruiz
Fred Malatesta
Fred Malatesta
Nadja dancing in the cantina
Nadja dancing in the cantina
Nadja
Nadja
Nick De Ruiz
Nick De Ruiz
Nick De Ruiz
Nick De Ruiz
Nick De Ruiz
Nick De Ruiz
Rex Lease and Clyde Cook in the Mexican jail
Rex Lease and Clyde Cook in the Mexican jail
Rex Lease and Clyde Cook
Rex Lease and Clyde Cook
Rex Lease and Clyde Cook
Rex Lease and Clyde Cook
Rex Lease and Armida
Rex Lease and Armida
Rex Lease and Clyde Cook with the broken airplane
Rex Lease and Clyde Cook with the broken airplane