MURDER IN THE CLOUDS
(director: D. Ross Lederman; screenwriters: story and screenplay by Roy Chanslor & Dory Schary; cinematographer: Warren Lynch; editor: Thomas Pratt; music: Ray Heindorf, Bernhard Kaun; cast: Lyle Talbot (Bob ‘Three Star’ Halsey), Ann Dvorak (Judy Wagner), Gordon Westcott (George Wexley), Robert Light (Tom Wagner), George Cooper (Wings Mahoney), Henry O’Neill (John Brownell), Charles Wilson (Lackey), Russell Hicks (Taggart), Arthur Pierson (Jason), Edward McWade (Clement Williams), Eddie Shubert (Eddie), Wheeler Oakman (Joe), Tom Wilson (Bartender), Bill Elliott (Lt. Saunders); Runtime: 61; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Samuel Bischoff; Warner Bros; 1934-B/W)
“An adequate action-adventure B film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An adequate action-adventure B film by D. Ross Lederman (“The Return of the Whistler”/”Adventure in Iraq”). It’s taken from a story by Roy Chanslor and Dory Schary. If you like aviation films from the early days of flying, this film has excellent aerial footage (courtesy of aerial photographer Elmer Dyer) and fine daredevil stunts.
Too bad the plot is too unconvincing and the acting is too limited, otherwise the recycled spy plot is passable entertainment and a good time killer. Three Star Bob Halsey (Lyle Talbot) is the top pilot at Trans-America Lines, but by doing daredevil stunts in the air it gives him a wild man rep with his boss Lackey (Charles Wilson) and is the reason the stewardess he loves Judy Wagner (Ann Dvorack) puts off marrying him.Brownell (Henry O’Neill), from The U.S. government, asks Lackey for his airline to carry out a top-secret mission of taking the scientist Clement Williams (Edward McWade) with his highly explosive cyclone military weapon invention from California to Washington, D.C.. Lackey chooses Bob as pilot and Judy’s brother, Tom (Robert Light) as co-pilot, and he’s to be guarded by government agents. When office worker Jason (Arthur Pierson), a spy working as Lackey’s assistant, informs the crime boss Taggart (Russell Hicks) about the flight, he arranges to have three thugs pick a fight with Bob in a bar and thereby Bob’s rival, the traitor pilot George Wexley (Gordon Westcott), takes over for Bob when he’s a no show. A time-bomb is planted aboard the secret flight, and when George steals the cyclone he activates the bomb and parachutes to safety and goes to the spy ring’s hideout.
The spies plan to sneak the cyclone across the Mexican border. They trick the unaware Judy to drive across the border, where they will have their henchmen retrieve the cyclone hidden in the car. But their plans are thwarted by the heroic efforts of Bob and the mechanic Wings (George Cooper).
REVIEWED ON 4/12/2018 GRADE: B- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/