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Murder in the Air (1940)

 -  Action | Thriller | Drama  -  1 June 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 167 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 4 critic

The corpse of a hobo with a $50,000 money belt helps Brass and Gabby crack a cell of fifth columnists bent on sabotage.



(original screen play)
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Title: Murder in the Air (1940)

Murder in the Air (1940) on IMDb 5.6/10

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Complete credited cast:
Lya Lys ...
Hilda Riker
James Stephenson ...
Joe Garvey
Eddie Foy Jr. ...
Robert Warwick ...
Doctor Finchley
Victor Zimmerman ...
William Gould ...
Admiral Winfield
Kenneth Harlan ...
Commander Wayne
Hotel Clerk
Owen King ...
George Hayden
Dick Rich ...
John Kramer
Charles Brokaw ...
Helen Lynd ...


Enemy agents are everywhere and they are sabotaging all important war deliveries. The body of a hobo found in a train wreck had a money belt with $50,000 and a tattoo of a circle and arrow. This is a tattoo for saboteurs for hire and Brass must impersonate the dead man to find out what his orders are. As Steve Coe, he meets with the band of enemy agents in California and everything goes well until the wife of the dead 'Hobo' shows up. Luckily, Gabby is able to save Brass and Brass learns what is his assignment. He is to board the USN airship 'Mason', which is testing the super secret Inertia Projector, and destroy the airship. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Thriller | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 June 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murder in the Air  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


David Newell is in studio records for a role in this film, but he does not appear. See more »


Admiral Winfield, aboard the dirigible, is referred to as Chief of Naval Operaitons, but wears the stripes of a rear admiral. An unnamed admiral aboard a surface ship wears the stripes of a full admiral, the usual rank of CNO. See more »


Brass Bancroft: Sabotage?
Saxby: Yes, but we're primarily interested n the body of a hobo that was found dead in the wreckage. He was wearing a money belt containing fifty thousand dollars.
Gabby Watters: [Whistles] A little spending money! He must have been king of the hobos!
See more »


Follows Secret Service of the Air (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Fourth in the "Brass Bancroft" series is the best...
5 March 2009 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

The fourth in the "Brass Bancroft" series is the best. Once again, RONALD REAGAN plays the confident government man whose job it is to expose spies led by JAMES STEPHENSON, the accented villain. It has the flavor of an extended Saturday afternoon serial, the kind that movie fans came to expect as a steady diet during the '30s and '40s.

All the ingredients for such an adventurous tale are here--a mysterious man with a tattoo on his arm; a ring of spies; good guys putting themselves into dangerous positions by posing as gangsters; and the inevitable conclusion with the spies efficiently disposed of by U.S. agents on their trail.

And once again, one gets the impression that Ronald Reagan was indeed being groomed for stardom as an Errol Flynn type of action star in his early days. He once described himself as the "Errol Flynn of the B-films" and it's an apt description.

Simplistic spy story made a year before Pearl Harbor, has its best moments when it uses actual footage from a dirigible disaster at sea with the footage blended evenly with studio scenes aboard the dirigible before it crashes. It's the last twenty minutes or so that makes the whole thing worth watching.

Fortunately for Reagan, it wasn't long after this one that the studio began putting him in A-films where he eventually earned his leading man status and became a dependable fixture throughout the forties.

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