Murder in the Air (1940)

Article 1843 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-1-2006
Posting Date: 8-29-2006
Directed by Lewis Seiler
Featuring Ronald Reagan, John Litel, Lya Lys

When the body of a noted saboteur is found in a train wreck, it is discovered that he is carrying a money belt with fifty thousand dollars and a letter of invitation to a group of conspirators disguised as a patriotic agency. Federal Agent Brass Bancroft pretends to be the saboteur in order to uncover the plans of the conspirators.

This was the last of four movies in a short-lived series about a federal agent played by Ronald Reagan. The series does not appear to be fondly remembered; I found this one watchable but pretty ordinary, with a stalwart hero, evil spies, and tepid comic relief in the form of Eddie Foy Jr. The fantastic content consists of a new weapon called the Inertia Projector, a device that stops all energy at its source; the conspirators are attempting to get their hands on the plans for this invention. The invention is used twice near the end of the movie, once during a serious chase scene and secondly as a gag device for the movie’s parting joke.

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