FEDERAL FUGITIVES (director: William Beaudine; screenwriter: story by Martin E. Mooney/Martin E. Mooney; cinematographer: Arthur Martinelli; editor: Guy Thayer Jr.; music: Alberto Colombo; cast: Neil Hamilton (Capt. James Madison/Robert Edmunds), Doris Day (Rita Bennett), Victor Varconi (Otto Lieberman aka Dr. Frederic Haskell), Lyle Latell (Chuck), Charles Wilson (Bruce Lane), Frank Shannon (Col. Hammond), George Carleton (Henry Gregory), Betty Blythe (Marcia), Frank Moran (Ox), Lyle Latell (Chuck), Gerald Oliver Smith (Hobbs), Jack Gardner (photographer); Runtime: 63; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: John T. Coyle; PRC; 1941)
“Watchable old-fashioned B film espionage mystery.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
William “One Shot” Beaudine(“Ten Who Dared”/”Voodoo Man”/”Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter“) effectively directs this watchable old-fashioned B film espionage mystery. It’s scripted by Martin E. Mooney, from his story.
At a Washington D.C. posh restaurant, government agent Captain James Madison (Neil Hamilton) spots a man he thinks is Otto Lieberman (Victor Varconi), a fugitive spy who supposedly died after he caused an aircraft crash that killed eight people including the lives of several agents. Getting the restaurant photographer (Jack Gardner) to take a photo of the suspect and later the agent getting Lieberman’s fingerprints on a glass of water, enables the FBI lab to make a positive identification. Madison’s boss (Frank Shannon) decides to keep him in the Capitol and not to return to his home base of LA., in order to secretly tail Lieberman and entrap him in his latest venture.
Using his loyal oafish driver Chuck (Lyle Latell) to follow the suspect, the agent learns that Otto is now posing as the industrialist Dr. Frederic Haskell and is working with the shady aircraft lobbyist Bruce Lane (Charles C. Wilson) as partners in a plan to gain control of the innovative research aircraft plant owned by Henry Gregory (George M. Carleto). The research company has invented an invaluable casting process that enables plastic to replace expensive airplane parts. Madison thereby takes the place of Gregory’s real partner, Robert Edmunds, and is introduced by Gregory to the smooth talking lobbyist and ruthless fugitive as his partner. To ensure that Edmund’s signs onto the deal, the lobbyist assigns his sexy assistant Rita Bennett (Doris Day, not the famous actress/singer), to take a romantic interest in the mark in order to influence him to sign the contract to sell his company. When the bad guys decide to poison the agent’s digestive pills, after learning his real identity, Rita has a change of heart and warns him of the attempt to kill him. As a result, the bad guys are apprehended and the smitten Rita kisses the smitten Madison for real.
REVIEWED ON 1/14/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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