5.8/10
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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
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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

The character "Tom Saxby" in the previous 3 films of the series signs his name as "William Saxby" in a telegram to Bancroft. 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: Sabotage?
Saxby: Yes, but we're primarily interested n the body of a hobo that was found dead in the wreckage. He was wearing a money belt containing fifty thousand dollars.
Gabby Watters: [Whistles] A little spending money! He must have been king of the hobos!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Reagans (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
So Why Wasn't This Ray Available At Pearl Harbor?
4 March 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Murder In The Air marked the conclusion of future president Ronald Reagan as two fisted, hard hitting Secret Service agent Brass Bancroft with Eddie Foy, Jr. as his sidekick. It's got every ingredient a B film for the Saturday matinée crowd should have, spies with tattoos, a secret weapon, and a two timing double crossing dame who nearly ends it for our hero.

Although the spies are never outrightly identified as German, the head guy talks with a Teutonic accent, all the bad guys have German sounding names, and they all have the same tattoo on the arm. When a body turns up Philadelphia with a lot of cash and a letter in invisible ink to a guy the US government has been looking to nail for espionage, Ron is sent in undercover taking the dead guy's identity.

These spies have something big in mind, to steal the plans of a secret weapon, a ray that can paralyze electrical currents. The weapon is called the Inertia Projector and its years in advance before the term laser came into general use.

The femme fatale in the plot is Lya Lys who is best remembered for being robbed of all her blood in The Return Of Doctor X by Humphrey Bogart. She's the wife of the dead guy Reagan is masquerading as and she nearly cooks Reagan's act. Good thing Ron was thinking fast on his feet here.

The film was written around some real footage of the USS Macon dirigible crash and incorporated in Murder In The Air. It's the best thing about the movie, the way Warner Brothers skilfully edited the disaster film footage into this movie.

My big question is how come the ray wasn't used the following year at Pearl Harbor against the Japanese?


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