Parachute Jumper (1933): Alfred Green’s Adventure, Starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Bette Davis

Alfred Green directed Parachute Jumper, a pre-Code drama, based on a story by Rian James titled “Some Call It Love,” starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Bette Davis.

Davis rated Parachute Jumper as “dead last,” and her character as another insignificant role.

US Marine Corps Lieutenants and pilots Bill Keller (Douglas Jr.) and “Toodles” Cooper (Frank McHugh) are shot down in Nicaragua. When they are found drunk and unharmed in a cantina, they and the Marine Corps go their separate ways. They are offered jobs as commercial pilots, but when they arrive in NY, they find their would-be employer has gone bankrupt

Unemployed and almost out of money, they meet blonde Southerner Patricia “Alabama” Brent (Davis) and convince her to share their apartment to save on expenses.

Keller escapes death when he parachute jumps for some money. He then becomes the chauffeur for Mrs. Newberry (Claire Dodd), the mistress of gangster Kurt Weber (Leo Carrillo).

Keller and Cooper become entangled in Weber’s smuggling schemes, flying in contraband from Canada. On the return trip, Keller shoots down two airplanes that fire upon him, thinking they are hijackers when they are really part of the Border Patrol.

Weber and henchman Steve Donovan (Harold Huber) set a trap for two disgruntled, unpaid ex-employees; Donovan guns them down in cold blood, intending to frame Keller, but Alabama calls Keller away from the scene.

Keller hands in his resignation, but Weber persuades him and Cooper to make one more delivery for him. After Cooper leaves, Keller learns that they have been smuggling not liquor, but narcotics. The authorities close in on Weber’s office; Weber and Keller get away, but Weber leaves Donovan behind to get shot down.

Weber has Keller fly him away. The Border Patrol catches up and shoots them down. Keller has time to arrange it to look like Weber was the pilot and he was a kidnap victim.

Unable to find work, Cooper decides to rejoin the Marines, and Keller asks Alabama to marry him, promising to support her if he reenlists in the Corps.

Cast
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as Bill Keller
Bette Davis as Alabama
Frank McHugh as Toodles
Claire Dodd as Mrs. Newberry
Leo Carrillo as Weber
Harold Huber as Steve
Thomas E. Jackson as Coffey