Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Mystery, Drama

Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939) Poster

Detective Nick Carter is brought in to foil spies at the Radex Airplane Factory, where a new fighter plane is under manufacture.


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11 October 2013 | csteidler
| Slick spy adventure with light touch
Walter Pidgeon is breezy, clever and tough as master detective Nick Carter in this spies-in-the-airplane-factory adventure that contains plenty of laughs and a couple of good action scenes.

An exciting opening sequence features a pilot setting down his plane in the middle of the desert, snatching up some valuable plans, and dashing off on foot to meet his waiting cohorts. Passenger Nick Carter—on the plane incognito—races after him, rescues the plans and jumps back on the ship as the flight nurse starts up the plane and flies it away to safety. It's all pretty far-fetched but it's well staged and the actors give it plenty of zip.

Rita Johnson is fine as flight attendant, nurse, sometime pilot and possible spy named Lou. Unfortunately, her character isn't given quite enough to do after the daring plane ride, but she and Pidgeon are good together, their characters initially suspicious but eventually rather fond of each other.

Donald Meek is bizarre but irrepressible as an amateur detective who calls himself "Bartholomew the B Man." He keeps bees in his hat and follows Carter around offering theories and advice. The two exchange standard but likable enough B movie dialog: "What made you say murder?" "Because it looks like suicide."

A decent plot moves along briskly—bad guys are smuggling out top secret airplane plans—but it's really the stars who hold our interest. Walter Pidgeon is actually a lot of fun: "If I'm wrong, I'll apologize," he smirks whenever proposing a new theory.

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