Monday, June 12, 2017


After watching the first Dick Barton movie, I was unsure about continuing in the series, but here I am, the second of three under my belt. This begins with an agent named Phillips being chased through alleys until he arrives at a phone booth where he stops to call government agent Dick Barton (Don Stannard), but is shot and tossed in the river before he can finish his message. The men responsible for the agent's death, led by Russian agent Volkoff, want to get their hands on Professor Mitchell and his death ray—it can destroy airplanes in the sky by exploding all combustible materials in the plane. Just after Mitchell demonstrates his ray for the British, Volkoff and his men steal the machine and kidnap Mitchell and his daughter Mary. They have plans to use the ray to bring down a flock of planes carrying a bunch of military experts, but they need Mitchell to help them work the ray. Dick and his faithful sidekick Snowey (George Ford) are on the chase, with a three-fingered thug and a ruthless Chinese assassin among their irritants, not to mention the beautiful but dangerous Anna (Tamara Desni), Volkoff's chief associate.

This is a little less of a "Boy’s adventure" story than the first film, though an admiring teenager plays a small role in the finale. Mostly it's a fast moving, if occasionally far-fetched, spy thriller, and the committed performance of Stannard as Dick Barton helps immensely; he may just have been copying the performers who played Barton on the radio, but he has a nice touch that combines a no-nonsense tone (he barks, "Buck up, Snowey!" to give his sidekick a needed boost of courage) with a light touch (able to joke a bit here and there). To the movie's credit, the strained comic relief of the first film is turned down a notch or two here. The climax, at an isolated lighthouse, is appropriately rousing and filled with fisticuffs (if awkwardly staged at times). Patrick Macnee, John Steed in the 60s TV show The Avengers, plays the ill-fated Phillips in the opening moments. Watchable, certainly, and good enough to push me on to find the third film. Pictured above are Snowey, Mary and Dick. [YouTube]

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