Saturday, April 10, 2010


In my ninth year of writing blog reviews, I find myself finally wondering how long seemingly interchangeable B-movies about brothers/pilots/racers and their work/war/romantic problems can keep my attention. The answer, I guess, is indefinitely, as long as I keep finding at least some small pleasures in the films. This one is like a benign Frankenstein monster, stitched together from some very familiar plot elements, but still able to generate a thrill or two. At Speed Hardy's Flying Circus, a traveling stunt pilot show, Ralph Bellamy is the boss whose philosophy is that a death during a show is actually good business. Bruce Cabot is Ace, his handsome and likeable buddy who helped Bellamy start the show after the two of them lost their jobs delivering air mail due to some gunrunning they were doing on the side. Arline Judge is Bellamy's wife who does some parachuting, and Eric Linden (pictured) is Cabot's kid brother. Yes, Linden quits college (against Cabot's wishes) to follow in his brother's footsteps, and yes, Judge soon gets the hots for Linden. And don't forget Cliff Edwards, the comic relief drunk pilot (named Screwy). There are few surprises along the way (one is Linden and Judge spending a foggy night together at a mountain cabin) but everyone is competent, some of the flying scenes are well executed for a B-movie, and Bellamy's plan to get rid of Linden provides a nice climax. I got a chuckle out of Cabot threatening Bellamy with taking Linden out of the show and leaving: "The kid and I are blowin' ya!" Cabot and Linden are nice eye candy, and it was a little strange to see Bellamy playing an out-and-out bad guy. [TCM]

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