Up 12,103 this week

Up in the Air (1940)

Passed  -  Action | Comedy | Music  -  9 September 1940 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.1/10 from 136 users  
Reviews: 11 user

A none-too-popular (nor good) radio singer, Rita Wilson is murdered while singing on the air in a radio studio. Radio page boy, Frankie Ryan, and his janitor pal, Jeff, solve the mystery ... See full summary »



(original story and screenplay)
0Check in

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive + 1 more

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 2118 titles
created 01 Sep 2011
a list of 229 titles
created 07 Jan 2012
a list of 82 titles
created 07 Aug 2012
list image
a list of 3269 titles
created 10 months ago
a list of 1056 titles
created 1 month ago

Related Items

Search for "Up in the Air" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Up in the Air (1940)

Up in the Air (1940) on IMDb 6.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Up in the Air.



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the depths of the Depression, two teenage boys strike out on their own in order to help their struggling parents and find life on the road tougher than expected.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Frankie Darro, Rochelle Hudson, Edwin Phillips
Second Chorus (1940)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

When perennial college students Danny O'Neill and Hank Taylor are forced to make it on their own, the competitive pair get jobs with Artie Shaw's band and reunite with ex-manager Ellen Miller.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard, Artie Shaw
Wild Guitar (1962)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.3/10 X  

A young Arch Hall, Jr. is given a shot at the big time by the unscrupulous owner of a small record company played by Arch Hall, Sr. (aka William Watters).

Director: Ray Dennis Steckler
Stars: Arch Hall Jr., Nancy Czar, Arch Hall Sr.
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

In a cheap hotel-room in New York City Jelke shoots gangster Joe Wells, takes a package from his pocket and flees.Wells staggers into an alley. On her way to her apartment above a wax ... See full summary »

Director: William C. Thomas
Stars: William Gargan, Ann Savage, Leo Gorcey
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Based on an old radio series with a live audience. It is the story of few of the people who attend the show. Nat King Cole sings.

Director: Harold D. Schuster
Stars: Tom Breneman, Bonita Granville, Beulah Bondi
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The relatives of a rich old woman unsuccessfully try to have her declared insane, so they can divide up her money. To show them that there are no hard feelings, she invites them to her ... See full summary »

Director: Phil Rosen
Stars: Wallace Ford, Marian Marsh, Sarah Padden
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A group of nurses returning from the war in the Phillippines recall their experiences in combat and in love.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard, Veronica Lake
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

When a cute Welsh terrier follows Bill Denny home, little does he know that all gangland has its eye on that dog. Who will be bumbling Bill's undoing - the gangsters, the cops, or his suspicious mother-in-law?

Director: George Beck
Stars: Farley Granger, Shelley Winters, William Demarest
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A popular young student finds herself accused of a series of murders that have occurred on the college campus. Her boyfriend, a reporter for the local newspaper, knows she didn't do it, and and sets out to prove her innocence and catch the real killer.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Shirley Grey, Charles Starrett, J. Farrell MacDonald
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Frankie Kelly, pageboy at the beauty salon ran by Madam Celeste, and his helper Jefferson find the routine broken when the body of one of the operators, Florence, is found in the dumbwaiter... See full summary »

Director: Howard Bretherton
Stars: Frankie Darro, Joy Hodges, George Houston
On the Spot (1940)
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Frankie Kelly is the soda jerk and embryo scientist in Midvales only drugstore. Two murders and an attempted killing suddenly swing Midvale into national prominence. Frankie and his pal, ... See full summary »

Director: Howard Bretherton
Stars: Frankie Darro, Mary Kornman, Mantan Moreland
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A gang of con artists disguise themselves as clerics in order to pull off a job, but soon find that even pretending to be religious people is having an effect on them.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Dick Haymes, Nina Foch, Roland Young


Cast overview, first billed only:
Frankie Ryan
Marjorie Reynolds ...
Anne Mason
Mantan Moreland ...
Jeff Jefferson
Gordon Jones ...
Tex Barton
Lorna Gray ...
Singer Rita Wilson aka Gladys Wharton
Tristram Coffin ...
Bob Farrell
Clyde Dilson ...
Detective Lt. Marty Phillips
Dick Elliott ...
B. J. Hastings, Station Owner
John Holland ...
Sam Quigley
Carleton Young ...
Band Leader Dick Stevens
Alex Callam ...
Van Martin - Announcer
Maxine Leslie ...
Stella - Switchboard Operator
Ralph Peters ...
Detective Delaney
Jack Mather ...
Tim Wallace - Comic
Dennis Moore ...
Gag-Writer Pringle


A none-too-popular (nor good) radio singer, Rita Wilson is murdered while singing on the air in a radio studio. Radio page boy, Frankie Ryan, and his janitor pal, Jeff, solve the mystery for the none-too-sharp police. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

studio | singing | singer | police | rating | See more »


Frankie 'scoops' the police and traps the killer! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Assassinato ao Microfone  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Remade as There Goes Kelly (1945) See more »


Oh, Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
Sung by Gordon Jones
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

From Hollywood's B-movie factory, with an A-movie song, "By the Looks of Things"
29 January 2008 | by (San Antonio, Texas) – See all my reviews

Up in the Air, a quickie 1940 B movie cranked out on a tight budget and on an even tighter shooting schedule, is worth viewing at least once. It's representative of all those cheap bread-and-butter movies the studios churned out designed to fill the lower bill of America's movie houses. If you don't have some familiarity with these films you just won't understand what a lot of Hollywood was about before and, to a degree, right after WWII. For every Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth and John Ford, there were thousands of journeymen, men and women, directing, writing, acting in and making possible all these movies. The movie, only 61 minutes long, is a comedy murder mystery which was a popular staple back then. This time the formula also calls for songs. There are three original ones and, like the movie, they're not bad. It stars a long forgotten actor named Frankie Darrow, who was big stuff in the B movie business back in the mid-Thirties through the mid-Forties. Darrow was a small, lean guy who got his start as a child actor. His big years were spent playing jockeys and high school students. At 5' 3" and when tastes changed right after WWII, Darrow was quickly left behind after he returned from the Navy. By 1950, when he was 33, he was only getting bit parts. He and a partner finally bought a bar in Hollywood, a bad move. Darrow became a serious alcoholic, but at least a relatively good-natured one. Except for occasional movie and television bits, he was washed up. If you admire Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet, Darrow was one of two men hired to take turns being inside Robby to make him move. That's show biz, kids.

One other interesting thing to note. This is one of seven films Darrow made between 1939 and 1941 in which he always plays a young man named Frankie and always partners with a buddy named Jeff. The two invariably get mixed up in mystery, with Frankie determined to solve the crime and Jeff reluctantly backing him up. The interesting thing is that Jeff in these seven movies always is played by Mantan Moreland. Although Moreland does his trademark eye-popping, it's not as exaggerated as it usually was. There's almost none of the foot- shuffling and chitlin dialect that Hollywood made its black actors use. Except for one, thankfully brief (but funny) comedy routine Darrow and Moreland do as Rastus and Mose with Darrow in blackface (but which Moreland dominates), the Jeff character is, for Hollywood of the period, unusually color blind.

With Up in the Air, Darrow plays Frankie Ryan, an energetic and confident young man employed as a page at Amalgamated Broadcasting Company. His ambition is to snag a comedy spot on one of its radio shows. He meets Anne Mason (Marjorie Reynolds), newly hired as a lobby greeter who wants to be a singer. Wouldn't you know it, Rita Wilson, the snooty and well-known singer on one of Amalgamated's top shows, takes a bullet in the heart during a rehearsal. Frankie is determined to find the killer, promote Anne into the singing slot, and at least get a comedy try-out chance with Jeff in front of the producers. Frankie is the kind of inexhaustibly active fellow who always snaps his fingers when he gets an idea, then charges out of the room, or down the hall, or up the stairs, or through a doorway. Eventually, sometimes with the help of the police and sometimes not, Frankie, with Jeff close behind, makes the killer come forth. There are no great surprises. The acting is competent and the movie moves quickly through its 61 minutes. Up in the Air isn't a waste of time exactly, but it helps if you do a little reading about Darrow and Hollywood's B-movie factories.

About those three songs. Unlike the movie, they're worth experiencing more than once. "Doin' the Congo," written by Edward Kay, Lew Porter and Johnny Lange, is a very nice Latin rhythm number. "Somehow or Other" and "By the Looks of Things," written by Kay and Harry Tobias, are light swing numbers. "By the Looks of Things," especially, is a song that is much better than it needed to be. Marjorie Reynolds sings all three.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Up in the Air (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: