Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Smashing the Money Ring (1940) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Ronald Reagan is back as Secret Service agent Brass Bancroft in SMASHING THE MONEY RING (1940). It's available in the four-film Brass Bancroft of the Secret Service Mysteries Collection, available from the Warner Archive.

SMASHING THE MONEY RING followed SECRET SERVICE OF THE AIR (1939) and CODE OF THE SECRET SERVICE (1939). A final film, MURDER IN THE AIR (1940), will be reviewed at a future date.

SMASHING THE MONEY RING is more of the same in a series which is fairly entertaining for fans of "B" crime films or Ronald Reagan. As he did in CODE OF THE SECRET SERVICE, Reagan's Bancroft works to break up a counterfeiting ring. The money is being printed inside a prison, so Brass goes undercover as an inmate.

A significant amount of footage was clearly lifted from earlier Warner Bros. prison films, but it's a fast-moving film, running just 57 minutes, and it has enough interest to hold the attention, thanks largely to the genial Reagan. He's again supported by Eddie Foy Jr., who provides comic relief as Bancroft's crime-fighting sidekick.

Margot Stevenson is a lady in distress, whose father (Charles D. Brown) runs a gambling ship where Dice Mathews (Joe Downing) attempts to spread the counterfeit bills. The cast also includes Joe King as Bancroft's boss Saxby, a character played by John Litel in SECRET SERVICE OF THE AIR as well as the last film, MURDER IN THE AIR.

SMASHING THE MONEY RING was directed by Terry O. Morse. It was filmed by James Van Trees and the uncredited L. William O'Connell.

The print is mostly fine, although there was one scene midway through where the picture was a bit wobbly. 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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