Saturday, 18 July 2020

Movie Review: Flight To Nowhere (1946)


An ultra cheap B-movie about spies trading in atomic bomb secrets, Flight To Nowhere encounters the turbulence of an incomprehensible plot and crash lands due to miserable execution.

A spy is murdered in Honolulu, and a secret map showing a uranium deposit location is stolen. The FBI's Agent Donovan (Jack Holt) leads an investigation. In Los Angeles, charter pilot Hobe Carrington (Alan Curtis) is hired by Countess Maria de Fresca (Micheline Cheirel) to fly her group to Death Valley. Her companions include Catherine Forrest (Evelyn Ankers) and shifty men Porter, Claude and Van Bush, who are seeking to profit from trading in uranium secrets. Donovan presses Carrington to help the investigation.

In Death Valley the group meet with underworld type Walker and subsequently in Las Vegas they connect with horse breeder Ruehl. Carrington's ex-wife Irene Allison (Inez Cooper) makes an unexpected appearance. Sabotage and a series of double-crosses and murders ensue, with Carrington getting romantically involved first with the Countess then Catherine, and Donovan desperate to ensure the map does not fall into the wrong hands.

Just one year after the world was introduced to the devastating technology of the atomic bomb, Flight To Nowhere is notable for being one of the earliest movies to tackle bomb-related espionage and profiteering. To its credit the movie also travels to Death Valley and a young Las Vegas for location shooting, but then does not stray far from hotels at either location.

Otherwise Flight To Nowhere is a destitute bore. Produced by Golden Gate Pictures and directed by William Rowland with chop-happy editing, the film quickly descends into a swirl of talk and a rush of names plotting against each other in abstract terms. Rowland does not bother to introduce the shady evil plotters, so they stay at an uninteresting plastic level. Carrington and Donovan as the good guys barely fare better, although Alan Curtis as Carrington enjoys some one line zingers courtesy of the Arthur V. Jones script.

The conspiracy quickly ties itself in knots featuring a letter, a map, a ring, and rapid-fire double-crossing, culminating with a killer horse (!). The few action scenes are punctuated by frequent bonks on the head. The acting is at the same level, as a collection of B-movie stalwarts including horror movie starlet Evelyn Ankers are hustled from room to room to deliver their lines with earnest incompetence.

Flight To Nowhere clocks in at a mercifully short 79 minutes, but still cannot land soon enough.






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