13 user 6 critic

Phantom Raiders (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 7 June 1940 (USA)
An insurance company tasks Carter and Beeswax to Panama as cargo ships are mysteriously exploding and sending their valuable cargoes to the bottom with all hands.



(screen play), (original story)
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Complete credited cast:
Cora Barnes
'Gunboat' Jacklin
John Ramsell, Jr
Franklin Morris
Matthew Boulton ...
John Ramsell, Sr (as Mathew Boulton)
Alec Craig ...
Andy MacMillan
Dr. Grisson (as Thomas Ross)
Eddie Anders


A mysterious rash of cargo ship sinkings in Panama leads insurers Llewellyns of London to hire vacationer Nick Carter and his eccentric associate Bartholomew to investigate. Nick recognizes influential nightclub owner Al Taurez as a shady operator, but getting the goods on him depends on slick diversions involving the heavyweight champ of the Pacific Tuna Fleet, a Panamanian bombshell armed with American slang, a young couple in love and a whole raft of crooks and cutthroats. Written by Sister Grimm <srgrimm@teleport.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »





Release Date:

7 June 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nick Carter in Panama  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film was first telecast in Philadelphia Thursday 5 December 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), followed by Los Angeles 28 March 1958 on KTTV (Channel 11), by San Francisco 31 May 1958 on KGO (Channel 7), and, finally, by New York City 9 July 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »


There is a quick shot of a ship's engine order telegraph, but the words are all printed backward. See more »


Bartholomew: [as Nick comes out the door] This note was waiting for you at the hotel.
Nick Carter: [Reading the note] 'Please meet me in my office at seven o'clock... Franklin Morris.' Wonder what Morris could want with me?
Bartholomew: Mysterious... it's several hours to seven o'clock.
Nick Carter: Oh, but so much to be done.
Bartholomew: Yes... yes.
Nick Carter: Let's see...
Bartholomew: Let's see.
Nick Carter: Where do we begin?
Bartholomew: Ah... where?
Nick Carter: I've got it!
See more »


Follows Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

The Villain
13 December 2006 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

In between the start of talkies and about the time of this, there were all sorts of experiments with the detective form. An amazing number, just absolutely amazing, of discrete types were invented. It was a heady time, much more ambitious and adventuresome than what we have today.

Most of the experiments failed, or course. And that's true even of experiments that were profitable enough to spawn a series. Success in this way means more than just selling tickets, which is easy enough. Its knowing when you find the bones to something you can understand and rebuild over and over in different ways. Its the difference between copying and creating and the creators will always win.

To win you need to understand and to understand you need to try and fail. This is a failure of an interesting type. It sticks to the normal three component model: the detective, the villain, the causal mechanism.

We usually these days are presented with a cool detective, in part because we rely more on actors and personalities. Unfortunately that's not very cinematic usually, so it doesn't reward. This movie treats us to pretty uninteresting detective, pretty much a dope. And his assistant is too, both comic.

Most of the attention — so far as character — is on the villain. He's supersmooth, always calm and anticipating the next move until towards the end. His weapon is the knife, which he can throw perfectly. At the beginning, he even throws a pen across a room and hits the center of the target.

Incidentally, the causal mechanics of the plot are somewhat incomprehensibly complex. There isn't much complicated in the device, but it is peculiar in a way. Its a radio that sends a triggering signal to bombs concealed on ships. These are blown up for the insurance money. What's unsettling, strange, is that the bombs are concealed in radio receivers. There's no reason for this except to make it easier for us to read.

But the business behind the scenes is what makes the plot work, all sorts of business about swapping cargo, forging inspection documents and manifestos. I admit that THIS was difficult to read because nothing could be shown. It could only be explained.

An interesting fossil, but a bad movie, even though the director had some reputation.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.

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