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The planes of Henry Goering's (Henry Hall) plane amufacturing company
are shot out of the sky by a certain Pilot X, which worries Goering
to such an extent that he hires scientist Doctor Norris (John Elliott) to
investigate using then state of the art equipment, and he invites the five
chief suspects (Hans Joby, Gaston Glass, Pat Somerset, Wheeler Oakman,
Reed Howes) in the investigation, all flying aces with World War I
backgrounds from various countries), to his place, pretending to use them
to patrol the skies under the command of Goering's top pilot Blackwood
(John Carroll), but actually just to study them ... and they all behave
very odd and suspicious at one time or another. Goering's ward Helen (Lona
Andre) meanwhile has fallen for Blackwood, much to the dismay of Goering's
son Carl (Leon Ames), to whom she's practically engaged.
patrols, the pilots are shot out of the sky one after another by Pilot X,
and only eventually does Doctor Norris come up with a culprit - when he is
killed as well. This all leads to Blackwood challenging Pilot X to a duel
in the sky, and ultimately shooting down the villain, who is now revealed
to be Goering's own son Carl, who has defected to the Germans during World
War I and has never accepted defeat since then.
Of course, at
least in writing this film seems awfully over-constructed, and to combine
aerial action and a murder mystery might seem a bit far-fetched as it is.
But despite this critisism, the film fares pretty well, it's decently
paced, the story actually makes sense (to a degree at least), and the many
sequences featuring (now vintage) airplanes in action are simply great.
pretty good little film, actually.