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Brass Bancroft of the Secret Service Mysteries Col [Import]

 Unrated   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER
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)

BIOS:
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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An old goodie Feb. 21 2011
By Tony Da Man - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Small but interesting collection of an old "B" series that only lasted four moviles. The flicks star Ronald Reagan as Brass Bancroft, Secret Service Agent, and Eddie Foy, Jr., as his sometimes pain in the neck partner Gabby Watters. Acting is only so-so, but the movies are mostly fast-paced and fun. Quality is very good. Enjoyable series is recommended.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Secret Service Mysteries ... Brass Bancroft ... Ronald Reagan (2010)" March 6 2011
By J. Lovins - Published on Amazon.com
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)

BIOS:
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)
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reagan was a great actor June 29 2011
By Matthew J. Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Even as an actor Ronald Reagan was very charismatic. That comes through in these movies. Back when they did not have much technology they had to rely on good stories and great acting. That is certainly the case here. One cast member, John Litel, was in quite a few good movies including the Nancy Drew series.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before Bond, there was ... Ronald Reagan? April 2 2013
By Kendal B. Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Having heard of these films, I was pleased that WB liberated them from their archive. Of course, Republicans will love seeing The Gipper portray a "tough on crime" secret service agent. But Democrats too should watch these movies. Not only for the sake of Americana, but also Reagan, when he made these films, was a Democrat.

One thing that surprised me was that these films followed the Bond formula. 1) Something bad happens 2) We flash to M/Saxby's office where the orders are given 3) Then off to adventure.

Refreshingly, these films contain a 1930s sensibility: the dashing hero, the love interest, and the oddball sidekick with a funny name. It is like watching the old 1940s serials, but with better writing and better acting--apologies to Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon: Box Set (Space Soldiers/Flash Gordon's Trip To Mars/Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe) (3DVD)).

These are light action films, like CHiPs: The Complete Second Season. This is not bad, since they provide us a good benchmark on how Bond-Bourne-Bauer-Batman have changed the intensity level of action films.

The first two films are based on the W. H. Moran's memoirs, he a former chief of the Secret Service. Hence, they are the better of the four films. The third film gives Foy (Gabby) a more prominent role. Like Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther (1963), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb), he could be such a scene-stealer that he overshadowed Reagan's performance. And had last two film's love interests.

The last film is the most Bond-esque: a super-weapon (a 1940s EMP ray), and some action on a dirigible--the best since Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Widescreen Special Collector's Edition). And has one continuity error. Gabby gets severely airsick, which contradicts the first film. Brass and Gabby were pilot and radio operator respectively on the Orient Express air-clipper.

The series could have used had a better resolution to the arc. The last film just ends, and we have no follow-up with Brass and Pamela, or Gabby and Dolly for that matter. I imagine Reagan moved on to A films, and ... so forth.

There are no extras, just the films.

Not much else to say. I recommend them for fans of BW films, 1930s and 1940s pulp fans (Batman - The Complete 1943 Movie Serial Collection), Wold Newton (Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze), homesick Reaganites, or anyone with a few dollars to spend and in the mood for a light and easy action film.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bancroft Of The Secret Service Dec 12 2012
By Rick Lane - Published on Amazon.com
This is a great set of four short film movies starring Ronald Regan and Eddie Foy Jr. released in the late 30s to early 40s. All movies are in Full frame and runs for about 55mins to 60mins. These movies star: Ronald Regan and Eddie Foy Jr., Rosella Towne, John Litel, Margot Stevenson, James Stephenson, Robert Warwick, John Ridgely, plus others! Overall this is a great item to get and I would recommend it to anyone.
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