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Film: Sky High 1922
Sky High is a 1922 film directed by Lynn Reynolds and starring Tom Mix. Mix, who usually played cowboys, stars as Grant Newbury, a Border Patrol agent in the desert Southwest. The Border Patrol has gotten wind of a criminal group that is smuggling Chinese nationals into the U.S. from Mexico. Newbury infiltrates the gang and traces it to its base of operations in the Grand Canyon. The situation is complicated when the crime boss's attractive young ward Estelle comes to the Grand Canyon to pay her guardian a visit.


Tropes:

  • Bad-Guy Bar: The bar in Calexico where the smugglers meet, and where Newbury joins their organization.
    "a rendezvous for anything crooked"
  • Damsel in Distress: Estelle, whom Grant first has to save from falling to her death, and then has to rescue from the smugglers.
  • Disguised in Drag: The Chinese immigrants being smuggled over the border in the opening scene are dressed as women.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Grant and Estelle are going to get married after having spent less than a day together at the Grand Canyon.
  • Fun with Subtitles: What apparently is a burst of angry profanity from a Chinese caught by Newbury is represented on screen as a blizzard of Chinese characters appearing and disappearing.
  • He Knows Too Much: The bad guys cite this as the reason why they can't let Estelle go.
  • The Infiltration: Newbury gets himself hired as a bouncer in the bar and manages to work his way up to involvement in the human trafficking operation.
  • Meet Cute: Estelle slips and falls from a canyon trail and goes tumbling into the Colorado River, from which Newbury rescues her.
  • New Old West: The film is set in the present day, but has the look and feel of a Western, set in the desert, with Mix patrolling on horseback, wearing buckskin and a cowboy hat.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Estelle has little to do besides look pretty and attract Grant's attention.
  • Scenery Porn: Shot on location at the Grand Canyon. One can only imagine what kind of an impact these scenes for audiences in 1922 that for the most part probably had never even seen a picture of the Grand Canyon. The film includes some of the first aerial photography ever attempted, as Newbury gets a pilot to fly him back into the canyon so he can rescue Estelle.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Newbury does this to make the bad guys think he is still in camp, while he is actually going to contact the authorities.
The ImmigrantNational Film RegistryThe Lost World
Sherlock HolmesFilms of the 1920sThe Hunchback of Notre Dame

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