5.8/10
203
13 user 6 critic

Murder in the Air (1940)

Approved | | Action, Thriller, Drama | 1 June 1940 (USA)
The corpse of a hobo with a $50,000 money belt helps Brass and Gabby crack a cell of fifth columnists bent on sabotage.

Director:

Lewis Seiler

Writer:

Raymond L. Schrock (original screen play) (as Raymond Schrock)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ronald Reagan ... Brass Bancroft
John Litel ... Saxby
Lya Lys ... Hilda Riker
James Stephenson ... Joe Garvey
Eddie Foy Jr. ... Gabby Watters
Robert Warwick ... Doctor Finchley
Victor Zimmerman Victor Zimmerman ... Rumford
William Gould ... Admiral Winfield
Kenneth Harlan ... Commander Wayne
Frank Wilcox ... Hotel Clerk
Owen King Owen King ... George Hayden
Dick Rich Dick Rich ... John Kramer
Charles Brokaw ... Otto
Helen Lynd ... Dolly
Edit

Storyline

Enemy agents are everywhere and they are sabotaging all important war deliveries. The body of a hobo found in a train wreck had a money belt with $50,000 and a tattoo of a circle and arrow. This is a tattoo for saboteurs for hire and Brass must impersonate the dead man to find out what his orders are. As Steve Coe, he meets with the band of enemy agents in California and everything goes well until the wife of the dead 'Hobo' shows up. Luckily, Gabby is able to save Brass and Brass learns what is his assignment. He is to board the USN airship 'Mason', which is testing the super secret Inertia Projector, and destroy the airship. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A battle aboard a doomed dirigible !

Genres:

Action | Thriller | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 June 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Enemy Within See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There has been open speculation that the plot of this film, in part, later inspired President Ronald Reagan to undertake the Strategic Defense Initiative, better known as Star Wars. See more »

Goofs

The newspaper article about the testing of the new weapon misspells the word "capitals" (meaning governmental seats of countries) as "capitols." See more »

Quotes

Brass Bancroft: Hey, Gabby, come on. What's the matter?
Gabby Watters: Oh, I'm worried about my girl.
Brass Bancroft: Al right, so if you can't keep the date tonight, she'll cry on her mother's shoulder.
Gabby Watters: That's just what I'm worried about. She hasn't got a mother.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
President Brass Bancroft....I Like It......
7 December 2007 | by lotus07See all my reviews

SYNOPSIS: Ronald Reagan, G-Men, Espionage, Airplanes....that about sums it up.

CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: American Government = Good / Foreigners = Bad. An entertaining propaganda film for its day. Supposedly, the 3rd in a series of G-Men pictures that Ronald Regan stared in. His character is named Brass Bancroft (Hollywood just doesn't use names like this anymore). Written and filmed during a time when the U.S. Government was never questioned and Communism was considered a mental plague and not a political view. It is easy to tell who the good guys are and you know the bad guys will be defeated in the end.

PROS AND CONS: I have a soft spot for the old days. Back in the day when even second rate B-Movies had some art and talent to them. These films reflected the audience that they were marketed toward which was middle class white Americans before World War II. The concept of ethnicity hadn't yet come to light, segregation was the norm. The government was a benevolent autocratic entity that could do no wrong. The film centers around science aviation and espionage, which back in the day was about as gee-wiz as you could get. There are shades of the Movie-Serials of the 40s as well as the coming paranoia of the communist conspiracy. If you want to see the roots of Star Wars and the Indiana Jones films, see pictures such as this.

One of the first things that was evident is that this film was produced on the studio lot. There is no location shooting and everything is shot on sound stage sets. What gives this away is the the lack of any ceiling on the interior shots and the shadows cast by the lighting. This gives the illusion that each room has 20 foot high ceilings that go up forever. This is pretty basic entertainment, meant to satisfy a pretty simple audience that didn't question much. Now, it is almost more entertaining for its simplicity and gullibility than anything else....and of course that the lead actor becomes president of the United States.


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