Oi! This film could have been so fun, instead it might have well as been named "Cliche Clipper". If you're a fan of early B&W talkies as I've been, you're familiar with the rapid fire dialog, the moment(s) in so many films where someone goes off on a "Gee mister, if you only understood, there are people who need this work, people depending on us, and if you just give us a chance..." a stirring speech, often with a clenched fist and very often followed by a spectacular Busby Berkeley number. In this film it never stops. Pat O'Brien, who plays something of the role of Juan Tripp, the founder of Pan Am. Given the exigencies of Depression Era story telling, there is no Boeing, no Martin, and no Sikorsky only Duncan's very old dad (Duncan being Tripps movie name) who designs all the planes and everybody from bankers to plane designers to even old Dad gets the pep talk or the rousing speech. Bogart is on the cusp of stardom---here he has got his role down, his look, his persona everything but the star role which is just around the corner.
There are some great plane shots, especially when they finally get to the China Clippers and San Francisco (Alameda). There's a strange shot where the plane takes off, flies over the Ferry Building and then, oddly enough is then shown flying west over the Bay Bridge, which is east of the Ferry Building... But in my mind I kept humming "Rio...flying off to Rio" because the music was missing. Or the Lindbergh film where Jimmy Stewart tries to stay awake as the Spirit of St Louis makes the long Atlantic solo crossing.
On the other hand, there is lots of silence. Good scenes that are allowed to unfold in front of the viewer with the viewer trusted to interpret the data correctly---today a John Williams score or clone of one would be blasting out of the speakers driving us to where the director wants us to go, no trust whatsoever.
You could clean the house or cook a meal or do all sorts of things with this in the back ground. As a sit down and watch it's a bit of a stretch, unless of course you're snowed in and have absolutely nothing to do and your satellite dish is out.