Warner Bros. Pictures presents "BRASS BANCROFT OF THE SECRET SERVICE MYSTERIES COLLECTION" (1939/1940) (231 min/B&W) -- Starring Ronald Reagan, Eddie Foy Jr., & John Litel
Ronald Reagan made a series of 4 "Brass Bancroft" films in 1939-'40. Although essentially "B" movies they benefited from Warner Bros expertise and as such were well received and have since achieved "cult" status (probably due to Reagan's other job). The films were based on stories from real-life secret service chief W. H. Moran and pitted Brass against spy & saboteurs from within & without USA. Brass was ably supported by Eddie Foy Jr. as his side-kick (& classy comic relief) Gabby Watters and (mostly) John Litel as his boss Saxby.
Each of the movies is a fast moving adventure with nice performances, good stories & solid scripting. Reagan (though quite young at the time) plays Brass with an easy-going charm and his performance is both high energy down-to-business and charismatic at the same time.
This "Secret Service" entry might not seem like anything startlingly new today, but in 1939 it broke some ground. Right at the beginning, when the pilot fears being caught carrying illegal aliens, the horrific act surely shocked audiences.
Brass Bancroft Film Series:
1. Secret Service of the Air (1939)
2. Code of the Secret Service (1939)
3. Smashing the Money Ring (1939)
4. Murder in the Air (1940)
1. Ronald Reagan [aka: Ronald Wilson Reagan]
Date of Birth: 6 February 1911 - Tampico, Illinois
Date of Death: 5 June 2004, Bel Air, Los Angeles, California
2. Eddie Foy Jr.
Date of Birth: 4 February 1905 - New Rochelle, New York
Date of Death: 15 July 1983 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 4 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 231 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (12/22/2010)