Friday, October 28, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Code of the Secret Service (1939) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Ronald Reagan stars as Secret Service agent Brass Bancroft in CODE OF THE SECRET SERVICE (1939).

It's part of the four-film Brass Bancroft of the Secret Service Mysteries Collection, available from the Warner Archive.

Of course, it's rather fun to find Reagan playing a member of the Secret Service, given the direction life would later take him. In this case he's a gung-ho agent who is all too happy to be recalled from vacation to help another agent (John Gallaudet) crack a counterfeiting case.

Brass is aided by a happy-go-lucky agent played by Eddie Foy Jr., channeling Allen Jenkins.

Late in the film Brass meets and is aided by Elaine (Rosella Towne); they even briefly emulate the hero and heroine handcuffed together while she thinks he's a crook, straight out of THE 39 STEPS (1935).

CODE OF THE SECRET SERVICE is a fun and fast-paced 58 minutes. It entertains thanks mainly to Reagan's breezy charm and a story which never stops moving.

Rosella Towne, who has an all-too-brief appearance as Reagan's leading lady, passed on in 2014, age 96. I wrote briefly about her memorial service in a January 2015 link roundup.

The supporting cast includes Moroni Olsen, Edgar Edwards, Jack Mower, George Regas, Chris-Pin Martin, and Frank Puglia. Look for Maris Wrixon (HIGHWAY 13) as a secretary early in the film.

CODE OF THE SECRET SERVICE was directed by Noel M. Smith and filmed in black and white by Ted D. McCord.

The Brass Bancroft set consists of a pair of two-film discs. There were no extras on the disc containing this film, which was a good print. I'll be reviewing the other films in this set at a future date.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD collection. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


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