“I need this plane — like an alcoholic needs his drink.”
A boozy reporter (Rock Hudson) covering a carnival barnstorming event falls for the sexy wife (Dorothy Malone) of a daredevil pilot (Robert Stack), and quickly becomes enmeshed in their lives and marital drama — including rumors that their mechanic (Jack Carson) may be the father of their son (Christopher Olsen), and attempts by Stack to bribe an airplane owner (Robert Middleton) into letting him use his questionably functional plane.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Airplanes and Pilots
- Carnivals and Circuses
- Dorothy Malone Films
- Douglas Sirk Films
- Jack Carson Films
- Marital Problems
- Robert Stack Films
- Rock Hudson Films
Douglas Sirk’s adaptation of William Faulkner’s 1935 novel Pylon reunited the stars of his previous melodrama — Written on the Wind (1956) — for yet another potboiler about fiery-tempered individuals living life at the extremes. Sexy Malone serves as the emotional core of the story, sucking Hudson into her sad saga without necessarily meaning to, while Stack is presented as a flying addict whose need for aerial freedom trumps all else (including the sanctity of his marriage), and Carson simply waits in the wings to provide support in whatever way he can. While the cinematography is beautiful and the performances are fine, I can’t recommend this as must-see for anyone other than Sirk fans — who consider it among his best.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone as the conflicted but loving stunt couple
- Exciting aerial sequences
- Fine cinematography
No, though Sirk fans will of course want to check it out. Listed as a Cult Movie and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.