Fredric March is excellent as an American flying with the British Royal Air Force that has a hard time facing the realities of war.
Jerry Young (Fredric March) and Mike Richards (Jack Oakie) are transferred to France. Left behind is Henry Crocker (Cary Grant). Jerry says he’s the best gunner in the outfit but not a good pilot. Crocker wanted to fly and is now very bitter towards Jerry.
Jerry and Mike are assigned by their CO Major Dunham to fly reconnaissance missions over Germany and the tailgunner will take pictures as well as defend against enemy planes. Over the course of two months five of Jerry’s gunners have been killed. He gets medals but they don’t have much meaning to him.
Showing up one day is Crocker. He’ll be Jerry’s new gunner. They still don’t like each other but continue to fly missions. On one of them they spot an observation balloon and the two men aboard parachute out before Crocker shoots their balloon. Then he shoots one of them. Jerry bucks the plane so he can’t kill the other one.
Jerry is angry that Crocker killed a defenseless man but Crocker is gung ho and says he’s there to kill the enemy before he can kill him. In the officer’s bar some green recruits are introduced by Major Dunham. Then a bomb drops on the building and most are killed or injured.
Unknown to Jerry the next day Crocker tells the Major that Jerry needs a break. Dunham gives him ten days leave. Before he goes Richards asks him to bring back his favorite smelly cheese. Jerry goes to London.
At a party he can’t get away from the war talk. He gets in a cab and before it leaves one of the guests (Carole Lombard) joins him. They go to a park with some champagne and Jerry explains the ugly side of war.
His leave is over and when he gets back to France and finds out Crocker is Richards gunner. Their plane lands and Jerry runs over to give Richards his cheese. He doesn’t notice right away that Richards is wounded. He dies moments later and Jerry blames Crocker. They were being chased by a German ace and Crocker told Richards to turn around so he could try for him. Jerry refuses to have Crocker as his gunner and asks for a new recruit named Stevens.
The ending stretches credibility but it fits in with the whole presentation. If you’re looking for an anti-war movie that takes place during world war one check this one out.