Experimental aircraft of several countries are mysteriously vanishing during test flights over the sea. The latest is British, and Hammond of the Secret Service, comical but competent, investigates undercover. Also interested is waitress Kay, a disguised reporter...and Hammond's sister. The government and plane manufacturer Barrett think the whole business is just coincidence, but the 'Viking,' ostensible salvage ship controlled by a Foreign Power, has much to do with it... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Beneath the British B-picture exterior lies a hidden gem of an espionage thriller. Q PLANES is briskly paced and delightfully entertaining, balancing exciting spy intrigue with lighthearted character moments. The villains' dastardly scheme foreshadows James Bond villainy to come, and one can almost hear the John Barry music swell up during certain scenes.
The film is anchored by Ralph Richardson in a droll performance as a slightly Holmesian secret service man: undeniably brilliant, if a tad eccentric and prone to absent-mindedness. The triumvirate of stars is completed by Laurence Olivier as a pilot (and all-around good guy) and Valerie Hobson, who we learn is a newspaper reporter out looking for a scoop (in the grand tradition of such characters).
Top-secret experimental planes are disappearing under mysterious circumstances and Richardson is doing everything he can to get to the bottom of it. The main cast of Richardson, Olivier, and Hobson are great together and the movie manages to blend real comedy with real excitement. This little-known British thriller is a real winner. It's lots of fun and a wonderful surprise. Try to catch it on TCM sometime.
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