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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:
Nick Talbot
Naomi Chance ...
Inspector Maxwell
Arthur Lane ...
Boyd Spencer
Harold Lang ...
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:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Richard Van Ness: You're wonderful! You've got a heart of pure steel!
Alexia LaRoche: My future's no dream from a bottle! I've had too much of attic rooms and runs in my stocking and ten cent bar loungers trying to paw me to death not to know what I want out of life and to recognize it when I've got it. All you have to do is hitch ypur wagon, and I'm tossing you the hook!
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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

of mild interest
29 March 2015 | by See all my reviews

Zachary Scott stars with Robert Beatty and Kay Kendall in a 1952 British quota film, "Dead on Course." During the '50s, many American actors went to Britain and made these films: Cesar Romero, Dane Clark, Dennis O'Keefe, and others. Some are better than others, but mostly, like this one, are fairly routine.

Scott plays Richard Van Ness, part of an airline service. His girlfriend's brother, Nick (Beatty) insists on flying in bad weather in order to deliver unimportant cargo. Van Ness tries to ground him, but Nick threatens to tell their boss that Van Ness has intermittent blackouts, which will ground him.

Nick's plane crashes near the Channel Islands under odd circumstances. The police ask Van Ness for help, telling him of a smuggling operation that they've connected with the airline. Van Ness pays a visit to his boss' girlfriend (Kay Kendall) and acts interested in order to find out what he can.

One of the plot points seemed obvious from the beginning; it was just a feeling I had but somehow, it was telegraphed in the script.

The acting is so-so, with Robert Beatty quite charming and Kay Kendall a good femme fatale. Kendall was a rising star who married Rex Harrison after they did a play together in 1955; when he realized she was dying of leukemia, Harrison divorced his current wife, Lili Palmer, and married Kendall. Kendall did not realize she was terminally ill. Their story was the basic plot for a Terence Rattigan play, "In Praise of Love," which Harrison did on Broadway with Julie Harris.

Zachary Scott said all of his lines in a very aggressive manner, absolutely no shading. I always liked him -- he was good as a sleaze, a weak man, a Henry Fonda-ish role in The Southerner - here he just seems hostile all the way through.

Just okay.

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