Hell Divers (1931): Pre-Code Navy Movie, Starring Wallace Beery and Clark Gable

Hell Divers is a pre-Code film starring Wallace Beery and Clark Gable as a pair of competing officers in early naval aviation.

Made with the cooperation of the U.S. Navy, the movie features footage of flight operations on board the Navy’s second aircraft carrier, the USS Saratoga, including shots of takeoffs and landings filmed from the Curtiss F8C-4 Helldiver dive bombers (after which the movie was named).

Though Wallace Beery gets star billing, Hell Divers was Gable’s first “starring” role and filmed before he grew his trademark mustache.

Gable had appeared in minor supporting role in another Beery film, The Secret Six, earlier that year.  Four years later, Gable would be billed over Beery in the lavish epic China Seas, one of only four films in which Beery did not receive top billing.

Other actors include Conrad Nagel, Dorothy Jordan, Marjorie Rambeau, Marie Prevost, and Robert Young (uncredited) as the pilot Graham.