19 user 7 critic

Parachute Jumper (1933)

Passed | | Drama | 28 January 1933 (USA)
To share expenses unemployed Alabama move in with also unemployed Bill and Toodles. Bill is hired by a gangster's mistress and ultimately becomes the gangster's bodyguard. Alabama ... See full summary »


Alfred E. Green


Rian James (story "Some Call It Love"), John Francis Larkin


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Complete credited cast:
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Bill Keller
Bette Davis ... Patricia 'Alabama' Brent
Frank McHugh ... Toodles Cooper
Claire Dodd ... Mrs. Newberry
Leo Carrillo ... Kurt Weber
Harold Huber ... Steve Donovan
Thomas E. Jackson ... Detective Lt. Coffey
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lyle Talbot ... Undetermined Role (scenes deleted)


To share expenses unemployed Alabama move in with also unemployed Bill and Toodles. Bill is hired by a gangster's mistress and ultimately becomes the gangster's bodyguard. Alabama unknowingly applies for a stenographer's job at Mr. Weber's (the gangster's) business. Bill is forced to fly a plane carrying narcotics into the U.S. but fights back. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Seventy-five Smackers a Jump- and Most of it Goes to Widows! (Print Ad- The Dispatch, ((Lexington, NC)) 6 February 1933)










Release Date:

28 January 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Em Plenas Nuvens See more »


Box Office


$206,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


American born Hispanic actor, Leo Carrillo, who played the evil boss, Weber, is better known for his roll as Pancho in "The Cisco Kid" TV series (1950 - 1956). See more »


Kurt Weber: Shut that door. I am extremely nervous!
See more »


Featured in All About Bette (1994) See more »


The Marines' Hymn
Traditional Marines song (circa 1850)
Played during opening credits and often as background
See more »

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User Reviews

There's not that much parachute jumping...
15 November 2015 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

... but there is just about every precode device under the sun included. Bill Keller (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and Toodles Cooper (Frank McHugh) are Marine pilots in Nicaragua, and when they are finished with one particular mission get drunk, go AWOL, and soon thereafter their term of service ends. It's not explained how they managed the assumed honorable discharges, but then I don't know what the U.S. was doing in Nicaragua in 1933 either. They then answer an ad for pilots in the paper, only to find that the company has gone bust. They can't find jobs of any type anywhere. They do have a roof over their head for now, but sitting on a park bench they meet Alabama (Bette Davis) a homeless and hungry out of work stenographer. Bill asks Alabama to share their quarters with them, strictly on the up and up. She can tidy up the place in return for a place to stay.

Here is where one of the big myths of this film come in. I've heard and even read people say that Alabama and Bill are sleeping in the same bed, with his feet where her head is and vice versa. Not even in the precode era could they get away with that. It is Toodles and Bill who are sleeping in that position in the same bed. Alabama is on the couch.

In their quest for survival Bill does do one stunt wing-walking parachute jump, lands on the train tracks and almost gets hit by a train. The trio also encounter a gun moll (Claire Dodd) who passes herself off as Park Avenue high society with a taste for good looking chauffeurs (Bill) and in a case of unfortunate timing, the jealous gangster behind the moll. He catches his girl and Bill in an embrace. Instead of killing him, which the gangster intended to do, he winds up hiring Bill as a bodyguard and to do some rum running across the Canadian border.

The film is basically about how the little people survived the Depression with a bunch of gangsters and thrills thrown in for good measure. Don't really look for a big dose of Bette Davis in this one, this is mainly Fairbanks' film.

When first hired by the gangster, Bill is asked if he is afraid of the law. Bill replies "The law we all laugh at?". Bill, like many hungry people laugh at the law that does not protect them from starving in the 30's, and he doesn't mind running liquor or using a gun to protect the gangster, but he differentiates between that and narcotics (he thought it was liquor he was running) and setting up people to be shot down execution style with it being made to look like self defense. In other words, Bill finds that the law is one thing, but his own conscience is quite another.

When the gangster decides to set Bill up to take a fall for his syndicate, will Bill find a way out? If so how? Watch and find out.

Nothing really special happens in this film, it is just more fun unique entertainment Depression era style in a way that only Warner Brothers managed to be able to do it. It also showcased three people whose circumstances Depression audiences could relate to, if not their rather thrilling adventures. The idea is that Alabama, Bill, and Toodles may be down, but they are not out.

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