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Dead on Course (1952)

Wings of Danger (original title)
When his girlfriend's brother's cargo plane is lost at sea, nagging questions arise, and pilot Richard Van Ness gets caught in a web of blackmail and smuggling.



, (novel) (as Elleston Trevor) | 1 more credit »

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Credited cast:
Richard Van Ness
Nick Talbot
Naomi Chance ...
Avril Talbot
Alexia LaRoche
Colin Tapley ...
Inspector Maxwell
Arthur Lane ...
Boyd Spencer
Harold Lang ...
Snell, the blackmailer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pat Ryan ...
Club Dancer


When Richard Van Ness tries to ground dashing pilot Nick Talbot, his girlfriend's brother, from flying an unimportant cargo run in foul weather, he is blackmailed into allowing it because Nick threatens to tell airline boss Boyd Spencer about Van's intermittent blackouts. When Nick's plane apparently crashes near the Channel Islands, there are many nagging questions about the circumstances. Although he is innocent himself of wrongdoing, Van Ness is pressured by the police to aid them in uncovering some of the criminal activities associated with the operation, including blackmail, smuggling gold, and counterfeiting. In order to obtain the information he needs, Van Ness is forced into romancing Boyd's grasping girlfriend, who finds herself very attracted to the flier. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


COUNTERFEIT CARGO! ...a fortune in loot...a fabulous woman...a sinister fugitive!


Crime | Drama | Thriller





Release Date:

1 April 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead on Course  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ian Fleming was the author of the James Bond novels. Diane Cilento was once married to Sean Connery, the first actor to play James Bond in the movies. See more »


Alexia LaRoche: [getting no response to her advances] You really keep yourself on ice, don't you, Van?
Richard Van Ness: Do I?
Alexia LaRoche: Don't you ever melt?
Richard Van Ness: Yes... sometimes... in the dark.
See more »


Featured in Trailer Cinema (1992) See more »


Music by De Paula Bana (pseudonym of Winifred Palmer)
Paxton Music Ltd
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User Reviews

Wings of danger never really soars
16 May 2009 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Taking advantage of arrangements favoured by the UK's Eady levy (a state film subsidy established after the war) in 1950, American producer Robert Lippert formed a business alliance with Hammer studios. Under the agreement, Lippert would provide American acting talent - frequently shop-worn stars or just supporting actors who fancied a profitable trip out of the country - while Hammer would supply the rest of the cast and the production facilities. Together they would split the profits. Famous for his concern with the bottom line, Lippert produced over 140 films between 1946 and 1955, characteristically genre pieces such as I Shot Jesse James or Rocketship XM. For the British deal, most of the films were noir-ish thrillers - and include WINGS OF DANGER.

Zachary Scott does a professional enough job as a pilot who faces disaster through suffering unpredictable blackouts. To add to his woes, when his girlfriend's brother appears lost in a cargo plane accident, he falls into a police investigation over blackmail, counterfeiting and smuggling. Robert Beatty and Kay Kendall support in a solid tale never less than watchable, even if not ultimately memorable. Light tramlines from the source print are evident at some points - unusual for a set with generally good picture quality. Kendall seems out of place as a minor femme fatale, too nice to communicate the double-crossing her character demands. Scott's most important noir roles previously were probably Ulmer's Ruthless and Mildred Pierce; here the actor is not helped by fairly anonymous art direction and by a story never really bringing out his internal conflicts.

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