SKY BANDITS (1940)
Article 2161 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-14-2007
Posting Date: 7-13-2007
Directed by Ralph Staub
Featuring James Newill, Louise Stanley, Dave O’Brien
A scientist helps a gang of crooks build and use a ray machine that downs airplanes under the mistaken notion he’s working for the government. Fortunately, Sergeant Renfrew of the mounted police is on the case!
No, the plot of this one is nothing to write home about; I’ve seen several b-movies about death rays downing airplanes already. Still, I have to admit that this one is done with enough goofy aplomb that it manages to hold my interest for the whole 55 minute running time. It’s got a singing mountie, an airsick mountie, a deaf mountie-wannabe innkeeper, a comedic radio personality whose colorful fables actually send secret messages to the villains, and Dwight Frye stroking a rabbit. What really sells the movie for me is that the sense of humor is actually a plus; there’s a number of good laughs here, thanks especially to James Newill, Dave O’Brien, and Jack Clifford. It’s energetic, efficient and fun, and this goes a long way to make up for the by-the-numbers storyline. It’s a loose remake of GHOST PATROL, and the last of the “Renfrew of the Royal Mounted” series at Criterion.