53 user 21 critic

No Highway in the Sky (1951)

No Highway (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 21 September 1951 (USA)
An aeronautical engineer predicts that a new model of plane will fail catastrophically and in a novel manner after a specific number flying hours.


Henry Koster


Nevil Shute (by), R.C. Sherriff (screen play) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
James Stewart ... Theodore Honey
Marlene Dietrich ... Monica Teasdale
Glynis Johns ... Marjorie Corder
Jack Hawkins ... Dennis Scott
Janette Scott ... Elspeth Honey
Elizabeth Allan ... Shirley Scott
Ronald Squire ... Sir John - Director
Jill Clifford Jill Clifford ... Peggy - Stewardess


Theodore Honey is an aeronautical engineer being sent to Labrador from London to examine the wreckage of a new passenger plane designed by his company. His theory is that the planes are susceptible to metal fatigue after a specific amount of time in the air. The absent minded Honey boards the Reindeer class plane and only realizes that this plane is due to fail in the next few hours after the plane is airborne. He decides to warn the crew and creates an incident regardless of whether he is right or wrong. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


EXCITEMENT and SUSPENSE 18,000 Feet Over the Atlantic!


Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 September 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

No Highway in the Sky See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The part of Theodore Honey was originally intended for Robert Donat (the character in the original novel is an Englishman). Donat's lifelong and severe asthmatic condition forced him to drop out at the last moment, something which happened repeatedly in his career. James Stewart took the part over and the character was converted into an American who had come to England on a Rhodes scholarship and stayed. See more »


In reality, it is not possible that a great scientist should not have considered temperature as a variable factor. The fact that you have to have the same temperature when you repeat and compare experiments, is an absolute basic thing in science that you learn already in high school. See more »


Marjorie Corder: Miss Tesdale, would you like your coffee in your own seat?
Monica Teasdale: No, put it over here. Oh as a matter of fact, let's go back there where we won't wake anybody no matter how much we talk. That way i can say my prayers if I feel like it.
See more »


Featured in Boom! Hollywood's Greatest Disaster Movies (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Nothing Like Becoming Part of Your Own Experiment
1 February 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

No Highway marks both the reunion film of James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich and Stewart's second film with Henry Koster as director. Stewart never played an intellectual before, but he's quite convincing here as the absent minded aeronautical scientist.

Stewart is a widower who is Rhodes Scholar, an American who decided to stay in Great Britain. He married and had a daughter, but his wife was killed in the blitz and he's raising his daughter in the off-time between his scientific projects.

His interpretation of a man who in his grief has just buried himself in his work is very well handled. We first see the way he lives after his new boss Jack Hawkins gives him a lift home. His daughter Janette Scott is a bright little girl, approaching her puberty though and not real well equipped to handle it.

Stewart is convinced that a new type metal alloy used on a new line of aircraft passenger planes will weaken after so many hours of flight and cause crashes. Hawkins urges him to report his suspicions, but the ivory towered Stewart refuses until his scientific calculations have been thoroughly checked out.

All of a sudden he gets good and personally involved in his own experiment. He's flying to Newfoundland and learns he's on one of those planes he considers defective. He is a respected scientist and people listen to him, like stewardess Glynis Johns and traveling film star Marlene Dietrich.

Of course when the tail section does not fall off in the time he thought, Stewart is made the object of ridicule. He disables the same plane he was on which was making a further stop in Montreal.

I think you can guess where this one is going, but it's a pleasant journey nonetheless. Stewart did in fact another variation of this same character in Dear Brigitte for Henry Koster and with Glynis Johns as his leading lady. Of course that film isn't as good.

Janette Scott said that during the filming of No Highway, Marlene Dietrich was kind and gracious to her and gave her innumerable pointers on how to act and react before the camera. Stood her in very good stead in Scott's later career.

Poor Marlene, two films with James Stewart and she didn't get him in either. Of course during Destry Rides Again they were in the midst of a torrid affair and it was a more important film for both of them.

For the film is about aircraft design without any derring do heroics, No Highway has no pretensions. Stewart since his service in the Army Air Corps in World War II was a well known advocate of air power and this maybe the best of his films concerning that subject.

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