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Lucky Devils

Lucky Devils(1933)

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teaser Lucky Devils (1933)

Adventurer, filmmaker and studio executive Merian C. Cooper allied with David O. Selznick to make a number of adventure movies at RKO, most notably the classic King Kong. Co-writing with real-life stuntman Bob Rose, scenarist Casey Robinson's Lucky Devils (1933) glorifies stunt personnel as superstitious thrill seekers with one foot in their graves: Stunt professionals Skipper and Bob (William Boyd and William Gargan) save the destitute Fran (Dorothy Wilson) from suicide. Skipper finds Fran a studio job and eventually marries her, ignoring an unwritten law in the stunt clan that discourages sentimental relationships. A colleague dies during a stunt over concern for his new bride and when Skipper is distracted by Fran's presence on the set, the same thing almost happens to him. He loses his job and must take menial work in the studio. The birth of Fran's child becomes a medical emergency, which prompts Skipper to undertake a mad race to the hospital. Much like films about aviator daredevils, Lucky Devils offers up one dangerous-looking situation after another: Skipper's big stunt involves riding a rowboat over a waterfall in the Klamath River. King Kong alumnus Bruce Cabot has a supporting role, along with hopeful Lon Chaney Jr.. Contemporary reviewers noted that Fran's attempted suicide might have been inspired by the highly publicized tragedy of starlet Peg Entwhistle, who six months earlier leaped to her death from the Hollywood Sign.

By Glenn Erickson

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