The Sky Hawk

The Sky Hawk is a 1929 American pre-Code adventure film, produced and distributed by Fox Film Corporation and directed by John G. Blystone. The screenplay was adapted by Llewellyn Hughes from his article "Chap Called Bardell" and novelized by Guy Fowler. The film stars John Garrick, Helen Chandler and Gilbert Emery.

The Sky Hawk
Sky Hawk poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byJohn G. Blystone
Written byLlewellyn Hughes
Produced byWilliam Fox
CinematographyConrad Wells
Edited byRalph Dietrich
Music byCharles Wakefield Cadman
Distributed byFox Film Corporation
Release date
January 29, 1930
  • December 11, 1929 (1929-12-11) (premiere)
Running time
67 minutes
CountryUnited States


World War I British aviator Jack Bardell (John Garrick) is discharged from the service after a suspicious aircraft crash that his fellow pilots believe show that he was a coward in the face of the enemy. He is left temporarily paralyzed from the waist down, and enlists the aid of his mechanic Tom Berry (Billy Bevan) to rebuild a wrecked fighter aircraft. Bardell recuperates to the extent that he is able to fly again, redeeming himself during a German Zeppelin attack over London, bringing down one of the airships.



A Zeppelin raid on London was the climactic scene of The Sky Hawk.

In a period when studios were adapting to the new "sound" technology, The Sky Hawk successfully utilized sound throughout the production. One of the most impressive aspects of the film was Special Effects Coordinator Ralph Hammeras creating a large-scale miniature of the city of London in the Fox Studios airfield hangar built for Hell's Angels (1930). Hammeras also created special mechanical effects, utilizing miniature aircraft and a model Zeppelin in the climatic Zeppelin raid sequence.[2] Blystone's brother Jasper was the assistant director on The Sky Hawk.[3]

The production was completed over a five-week period beginning in August 1928. Location shooting took place at Ross Army Air Field in Arcadia, California.[4] For The Sky Hawk, the base was converted into a Royal Air Force air base, with a small group of Thomas-Morse Scout, Laird Swallow and Travel Air biplanes "dressed up" as British fighters.[5]


The Sky Hawk premiered on December 11, 1929, at the Gaiety Theater in New York to positive reviews. Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times praised the film, noting: "A melodrama of the skies which has not been equaled in its adroit handling, its competent acting, its authentic atmospheric effects, or the tonal quality of the voices of the participants was launched last night by William Fox at the Gaiety Theatre."[6]



  1. ^ Uncredited roles:


  1. ^ "Credits: The Sky Hawk (1929)". IMDb. Retrieved: August 10, 2014.
  2. ^ Wynne 1987, p. 89.
  3. ^ Orriss 2013, p. 32.
  4. ^ Farmer 1984, p. 326.
  5. ^ Orriss 2013, p. 33.
  6. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "The Sky Hawk (1929)." The New York Times, December 12, 1929.


  • Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
  • Orriss, Bruce W. When Hollywood Ruled the Skies: The Aviation Film Classics of World War I. Los Angeles: Aero Associates, 2013. ISBN 978-0-692-02004-3.
  • Wynne, H. Hugh. The Motion Picture Stunt Pilots and Hollywood's Classic Aviation Movies. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1987. ISBN 0-933126-85-9.

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