|A Hero for a Night|
|Directed by||William James Craft|
|Produced by||Carl Laemmle|
|Written by||Harry O. Hoyt (story)|
Albert DeMond (titles)
Patsy Ruth Miller
|Edited by||Charles Craft|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|60 minutes; 6 reels|
|Language||Silent (English intertitles)|
A Hero for a Night is a 1927 American silent comedy film directed by William James Craft and produced and distributed by Universal Pictures, cashing in on the "Lindy craze", generated by Charles Lindbergh's famous ocean crossing flight. The film stars Glenn Tryon, Patsy Ruth Miller and Burr McIntosh.
Hiram Hastings (Glenn Tryon), who drives a taxi at an eastern United States summer resort, wants to become an aviator. He takes a correspondence course in aviation and builds his own aircraft, hoping to enter a race from New York to Europe. Samuel Sloan (Burr McIntosh), a wealthy soap manufacturer, arrives with his daughter Mary (Patsy Ruth Miller), a trained nurse (Ruth Dwyer), and his confidential secretary (Lloyd Whitlock), the last two secretly plotting to get Sloan's holdings.
Hiram, infatuated with Mary, crashes a banquet in honor of a visiting French aviator and takes it upon himself to be the speaker of the evening. Although he is ejected, Hiriam perseveres.
Mary learns of the plot against her father and with the aid of Hiram and his aircraft sets out for New York, but Hiram pilots them across the ocean into Russia and there makes a forced landing. The success of the flight, however, saves the Sloan fortune.
In the era of Charles Lindbergh's ocean crossing flight, the Curtiss Model D Headless pusher that Glenn Tryon flies, which is depicted in some lobby art, would have been an antique by 1927. The Curtiss "Pusher" was a replica created by Al Wilson for use in air fairs as well in Hollywood features. Several early Curtiss Pushers were still airworthy in 1927 but the rapid advance in aviation made them obsolete especially just prior to World War I and after.[N 1]
Aviation historian Michael Paris in From the Wright Brothers to Top Gun: Aviation, Nationalism, and Popular Cinema (1995) described the frenzy of trying to woo Lindbergh to do a film. Hollywood resorted to a spate of aviation-related features including Publicity Madness (1927), Flying Romeos (1928) and A Hero for a Night, even the Walt Disney Studios' Plane Crazy (1928), all comedy spoofs of the Lindbergh transatlantic flight.
Aviation film historian Stephen Pendo, in Aviation in the Cinema (1985) noted A Hero for a Night involved "high jinks" in the air. Aviation film historian James Farmer in Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation (1984) considered A Hero for a Night, a "comedic melodrama."
A Hero for a Night survives and has been released on DVD.
- Al Wilson nearly lost his life when his Curtiss Pusher replica caught on fire while he was performing in an air show. He barely made it down to the ground before the aircraft was consumed by fire.
- "Detail view: 'A Hero for a Night'." The AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 2019. Retrieved: July 4, 2019.
- "Catalog: 'A Hero for a Night'." The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog;, 2019. Retrieved: July 4, 2019.
- Wynne 1987, pp. 2, 48, 61.
- Wynne 1987, p. 61.
- Paris 1995, p. 58.
- Pendo 1985, p. 8.
- Farmer 1984, p. 314.
- "Data: 'A Hero for a Night'." Progressive Silent Film List (silentera.com), 2019. Retrieved: July 4, 2019.
- Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation (1st ed.). Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: TAB Books 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
- Paris, Michael. From the Wright Brothers to Top Gun: Aviation, Nationalism, and Popular Cinema. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1995. ISBN 978-0-7190-4074-0.
- Pendo, Stephen. Aviation in the Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1985. ISBN 0-8-1081-746-2.
- Wynne, H. Hugh. The Motion Picture Stunt Pilots and Hollywood's Classic Aviation Movies. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1987. ISBN 978-0-93312-685-5.