Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Murder in the Air (1940) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

MURDER IN THE AIR (1940) is the final entry in the Brass Bancroft of the Secret Service Mysteries Collection, available from the Warner Archive.

Ronald Reagan plays Bancroft in this fourth and final film in the series. He's once again supported by Eddie Foy Jr. as his sidekick Gabby and John Litel as his boss, Saxby.

While the other films focused on domestic issues such as illegal immigration and counterfeiting, this time around the Secret Service is working to protect the nation from pre-war sabotage.

Bancroft and Gabby round up a couple of saboteurs, but their biggest problem lies ahead, when Bancroft goes undercover and is tasked by the saboteurs with destroying a Navi dirigible.

Also aboard the giant dirigible: a mysterious machine called the Inertia Machine, which is about to be tested. The story has a sci-fi twist as the Inertia Machine uses electric waves to stop vehicles of all types.

Like the other films, MURDER IN THE AIR is no great shakes in terms of script or performances, but I rather liked it. The story moves along quickly, led by the genial Reagan, and it's over in a fast 55 minutes. The dirigible sequence was different and added a bit of excitement.

MURDER IN THE AIR was directed by Lewis Seiler and filmed by Ted D. McCord. The airport scenes were shot at Van Nuys Airport. The movie runs 55 minutes.

The supporting cast includes James Stephenson, Robert Warwick, and Kenneth Harlan.

Reviews of the previous films in the set: SECRET SERVICE OF THE AIR (1939), CODE OF THE SECRET SERVICE (1939), and SMASHING THE MONEY RING (1940).

Like the other films in the series, the Archive DVD is a nice print. There are no extras.

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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