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Lon Chaney Jr.,
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Filmed a few months before and playing in theatres when Wiley Post and Will Rogers were killed in a plane crash in Point Barrow, Alaska in August, 1935: Barry Eldon is the owner of an airline company that is competing with a rival company for a lucrative air-mail contract with the government. While the other company is bigger and more profitable than Barry's line, the rival owner has hired a scientist that has perfected a ray-machine that will cause airplanes that its ray is directed at to lose their engine power and crash. Thed government and the public are losing faith in Eldon's line before he, aided by Renee Dupont, can find out what is causing his airplanes to crash. (Wiley Post flys through on a cross-country stratosphere flight.) Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Air Hawks" is a B-movie from Columbia Pictures. Yet, despite its very low budget and modest cast, it is entertaining--in a breezy and light way. In other words, as long as you aren't expecting magic, you'll probably be reasonably pleased with this one.
Ralph Bellamy stars as Barry Eldon--the head of a tiny air service. Yet, surprisingly, a much larger air transport company is afraid of the competition and try to buy him out. But, despite their very generous offer, Barry rejects it and has no intention of selling. Now here is were it gets very weird--his competitors find a goody mad scientist and pay him to create a death ray in order to knock Barry's planes out of the sky!! I saw a similar plot in several other low-budget films--perhaps influenced by Tesla's odd experiments with death rays and electricity.
Overall, this is a nice little adventure film--and makes a decent time-passer. However, it is also worth seeing for one odd reason--late in the film, Wiley Post plays himself! And, only three months later, this famous aviator would die in the same crash that killed Will Rogers. Fascinating coincidence, huh?
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