27 September 2019 | Kittyman
A Worthwhile "B"
This is a worthwhile comedy-mystery "B" film. I'd give a 6.5. The only caveats I have are 1) the leading villain's performance is a bit over the top (though remarkable in another sense) and 2) the biplane stock footage near the end doesn't match the monoplanes subsequently shown landing.
All the other actors do a good job, their banter is excellent, as is the picture's pace. Familiar faces abound. They include Mary Treen (218 credits), John Litel (216 credits), "Wild" Bill Elliott of "B" cowboy fame (277 credits), John Kelly (165 credits), Charley Foy (of the Seven Little Foys' theatrical family), and Spencer Charters (225 credits). Who the murderer is, is not not easy to figure out, and, for the time, the special effects are well done.
What the midwestern "dust bowl" of the 1930s was like will probably come as a shock to younger viewers. After seeing this film's depiction of a typical dust storm, however, it is easy to understand why the "Okies" began migrating to California. (see The Grapes of Wrath, 1940.)
Even the featured plane is interesting. The Ford Trimotor plane ("The Tin Goose"), with its corrugated skin, was based on the German Junkers' design. That is why fans of World War II films will find it very familiar. (It closely resembles the Nazis' Junkers Ju 52 transport.) And in 1929 it was involved in, what was at that time, the worst plane disaster ever. In New Jersey, 14 people died when two of a "goose's" engines failed.