Chain Lightning (1950) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Matt Brennan runs into Jo Holloway, the Red Cross girl he romanced in Europe when he was a flyer in World War II, when he is offered a job by jet manufacturer Leland Willis as a test pilot. Carl Troxell, wants to sell an escape cockpit to the Air Force. He wants Matt to stall the presentation of JA-3 the prototype that doesn't include the ejection seat, to give him more time for the experimental JA-4. But Matt doesn't believe it is yet safe enough to try.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A few years after being discharged from the military, the now broke and bored Matt Brennan met old Army Air Force buddy Hinkle and was subsequently offered a job as the chief test pilot of an experimental jet plane JA-3, and found himself reunited with the ghosts from his past.

    The project was fully sponsored by tycoon Leland Willis, and developed by Carl Troxell, an aviation scientist who had tagged along on Matts last B-29 mission and remained highly impressed by his experience and field knowledge. Also coming back into Matts life is old flame Jo Holloway, now Willis' secretary, with whom Matt had a serious relationship during the war, but purposely lost touch with due to his disillusionment with the post-war civilian life.

    Willis wanted a working JA-3 as soon as possible, so that he could get both fame and fortune; Carl, on the other hand, believed that JA-3 could not be considered complete without safety measures for the pilot. Matt saw a chance for grabs and came up with a plan that would get Willis what he wanted - a record-breaking flight from Nome to Washington DC, via the North Pole, to impress the government - at the cost of $30,000.

    Carl was disappointed by Matt's lack of concern for human beings and became determined to complete building the escape pod he had been developing and test fly the JA-4 (JA-3 equipped with the escape pod) before Matt was to land in Washington DC. He died trying.

    Matt's record-breaking flight was a success and he now had enough money to marry Jo and settle down. Carl's death and dying message brought back his conscience. He decided to use the JA-4 and test Carls theory by flying it for the official government demonstration.

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