Men of the Sky

For other uses, see Sky People (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Men Against the Sky.
Men of the Sky (1931)
Directed by Alfred E. Green
Written by Otto A. Harbach
Starring Irene Delroy
Jack Whiting
Lotti Loder
Bramwell Fletcher
Armand Kaliz
John St. Polis
Music by Otto A. Harbach
Jerome Kern
David Mendoza
Erno Rapee
Cinematography John F. Seitz
Edited by Desmond O'Brien
Distributed by First National Pictures: A Subsidiary of Warner Bros.
Release dates
June 30, 1931 (1931-06-30)
Running time
71 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $462,000

Men of the Sky is a 1931 all-talking American pre-Code musical drama film which was produced by Warner Bros. in 1930 and released in 1931. Originally planned as an all-Technicolor musical, filming began in July 1930, under the title of Call of the East. By the time filming had concluded in mid-September, due to the public backlash against musicals, the title was changed twice more (first to Stolen Dreams then to Men of the Sky), much of the music was cut and the film began to be advertised as a spy war drama. As a cost-savings measure, it was decided to release the film in black and white as color had come to be associated with musicals. Men of the Sky starred Irene Delroy and Jack Whiting.


In this drama, the love affair between an American pilot named Jack Ames (Jack Whiting) and a French spy named Madeleine Aubert (Irene Delroy) is chronicled. Madeleine leaves her American boyfriend to join her father (John St. Polis), another French agent, as a spy for France at an estate in Germany.

Madeleine is supposed to seduce a German officer (Bramwell Fletcher) in order to gain information on a set of secret plans that another spy will steal after landing on the grounds. That spy turns out to be Jack. Madeleine is supposed to signal her compatriot to advance by playing a certain style of song on the piano, but the Germans have found out about the scheme, and Jack is exposed. In the tragic ending, the pair of lovers are led out to a firing squad.



The original story and music were written by Otto A. Harbach and Jerome Kern. The film was originally intended to be released, in the United States, early in 1931, but was shelved due to public apathy towards musicals. Despite waiting a number of months, the public proved obstinate and the Warner Bros. reluctantly released the film in June 1931 after making some cuts. The film was released outside the United States (since there was no backlash against musicals outside the United States) as a full musical early in 1931. The film was originally intended to be photographed entirely in Technicolor, but this was dropped midway into production when the studio realized the public was growing sour on musicals. The film was originally titled: "Call of the East" but was retitled before release. This was to have been the first of three of musicals to be written by Otto A. Harbach and Jerome Kern for Warner Bros. Due to the public apathy for musicals, however, Warner Bros. bought out their contract and the team returned to Broadway. Warner Bros. did not debut this film in the usual prestigious movie theaters. The film was immediately placed in general release with no fanfare.


Preservation status

Men of the Sky is considered to be a lost film since no film elements are known to exist. The soundtrack, which was recorded on Vitaphone disks, may survive in private hands.

See also

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