BOMBS OVER LONDON (1937)
aka Midnight Menace
Article 1894 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-22-2006
Posting Date: 10-19-2006
Directed by Sinclair Hill
Featuring Charles Farrell, Margaret Vyner, Fritz Kortner
Whan a political reporter dies in what may or may not be an accident, the politcal cartoonist of his paper begins investigating on his own. He plants his only clue (the word SASKA) in a political cartoon, and then begins to suspect that one of the members of a Peace Conference may be up to something shady.
The fantastic content of this movie is that certain people have developed a way to remotely pilot airplanes. I’ve run into this concept before; it’s almost invariably used in the standard spy plot, where the allies develop the weapon, claim it will guarantee peace, and then the rest of the movie is about them trying to keep the secrets out of the hands of spies. That is, in fact, what I expected when I went into this. Fortunately, nothing like that is going on here. Instead, we get a fairly clever political thriller in which a man, angry at the abuses he underwent during the last war, is trying to start another one by manipulating the outcome of a peace conference and staging a bombing attack on London. It’s quite clever at times; in particular, I like the fact that our hero gets his information by planting clues in his political cartoons designed to flush out the enemies. The movie is a bit confusing at times, but it really is a unique thriller, and very enjoyable. Fritz Kortner makes for a great villain, and he even garners a bit of sympathy when he tells about the events that brought him to this pass. The remote control planes are used in the final sequence in the movie where London is bombed, and if the special effects are a little on the weak side here, it does well to remember that this was before England had access to all that stock footage from the Blitz; in this sense, the movie itself was just a little prophetic. I was quite pleased with this one.