Hell Divers is a 1931 American pre-Code black-and-white film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starring Wallace Beery and Clark Gable as a pair of competing chief petty officers in early naval aviation. The film, made with the cooperation of the United States Navy, features considerable footage of flight operations aboard the Navy's second aircraft carrier, the USS Saratoga, including dramatic shots of takeoffs and landings filmed from the Curtiss F8C-4 Helldiver dive bombers after which the movie was named.[Note 1]
Hell Divers was officially Gable's first "starring" role and filmed before he grew his trademark mustache. Gable had appeared in a minor supporting role in another Beery film, The Secret Six, earlier the same year. For Gable, Hell Divers was not a pleasant experience since he was again billed beneath Beery, an actor he personally disliked. Four years later, Gable would be billed over Beery in the lavish epic China Seas, one of only four films during the sound era in which Beery did not receive top billing. Other actors appearing include Conrad Nagel, Dorothy Jordan, Marjorie Rambeau, and Marie Prevost. An uncredited Robert Young appears near the end of the film in a speaking role as Graham, a pilot.
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