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Sky Bandits

USA 1940
produced by
Phil Goldstone for Criterion/Monogram
directed by Ralph Staub
starring James Newill, William Pawley, Dewey Robinson, Joe De Stefani, Dwight Frye, Jim Farley, Louise Stanley, Dave O'Brien, Karl Hackett, Ted Adams, Jack Clifford, Bob Terry, Kenne Duncan, Eddie Fetherston
screenplay by Edward Halperin, based on the novel Renfrew Rides the Sky by Laurie York Erskine

Renfrew of the Royal Mounted

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After quite some aeroplanes carrying the gold of the Yukon mining corporation are shot out of the sky, Mountie Renfrew (James Newill) starts investigating, but at first his investigations lead to surprisingly little as with great regularity the plane-wrecks disappear, & the gangsters seem to be always one step ahead, as if someone is listening in on the conversations taking place in the mining corporation's mainoffice ... which is of course the case since Dimwiddle (Dewey Robinson), an amateur radio operator, has installed a bug in the office, & tells everything to the gangsters over radio, disguisd as children's fables.& the gangsters are Morgan (William Pawley) & his gang, who have employed scientists Speavey (Dwight Frye) & professor Lewis (Joe De Stefani), who have built a deathray to shoot down planes, the latter even convinced that he built it for the army - & when he finds out, he is forced to continue working by the fact that Morgan holds his daughter Maddie (Louise Stanley) hostage.

Despite disappearing evidence & even witnesses (Speavey, who wanted to spill the beans but instead was shot), Renfrew manages to put together the puzzle though, & to lure Morgan's gang out of their hole, he decides to fly the next gold shipment himself (accompanied, rather unexplicably, by Maddie) ... & it works, too, since as Renfrew keeps evading the deathray causing Morgan to go up in a plane himself to chase Renfrew right into the deathray ... but down on earth, professor Morgan, who operates the deathray, makes sure that he shoots Morgan's & not Renfrew's plane out of the sky ...

Dave O'Brien plays Renfrew's trusted, but a bit dim-witted sidekick Sgt Kelly.

 

Good pacing, nice (vintage) aeroplane action & a solid mix of Western & sci-fi-motives make this a nice entry into the Renfrew-series - even if the combination of cowboys & death rays shooting planes out of the skies wasn't quite as new as it might now seem, see for example 1936's Ghost Patrol.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD