Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Darro, Renolds, Moreland, and Coffin have a conference
UP IN THE AIR (1940). Director: Howard Bretherton.

Frankie (Frankie Darro) is a page boy in a radio studio who tries to impress new receptionist Anne (Marjorie Reynolds of The Time of Their Lives) by pretending to be a producer, which doesn't sit well with her or with their boss, Mr. Farrell (Tristram Coffin). Farrell and others at the station are having problems with difficult, bitchy radio singer Rita Wilson (Lorna Gray of The Perils of Nyoka) but those problems abruptly end when she's shot dead by an unknown person during a rehearsal. Will Anne be chosen to go on in her place? Will Frankie and his buddy Jeff (Mantan Moreland) unveil the murderer before the police do? Yes, it's another Darro-Moreland mystery comedy from Monogram studios, full of flavorful actors but without much of a story. Gordon Jones (The Green Hornet) is a lousy cowboy singer; Dennis Moore (The Purple Monster Strikes) is a gag writer; Dick Elliott is Hastings, the station owner; and John Holland (The Girl in Black Stockings) -- also Alice's handsome boss on an episode of The Honeymooners -- is Sam Quigley, another executive. Neither of the "girl" singers really do justice to the snappy number "Conga;" the best scene has Mantan Morelamd doing a soft shoe routine.

Verdict: Very likable leads but where's the decent script? **.

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