- 3 2017
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
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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
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.
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.