|PHANTOM RAIDERS (director: Jacques Tourneur; screenwriters: Walter Lipman/story by Jonathan Latimer; cinematographer: Clyde DeVinna; editor: Conrad Nervig; music: David Snell; cast: Walter Pidgeon (Nick Carter), Donald Meek (Bartholomew), Joseph Schildkraut (Al Taurez), Florence Rice (Cora Barnes), John Carroll (John Ramsell, Jr.), Matthew Boulton (Ramsell, Sr.,), Nat Pendleton (Gunboat), John Burton (Steve Donnigan), Cecil Kellaway (Franklin Morris), Steffi Duna (Dolores), Thomas Ross (Dr. Grisson), Alec Craig (Andy MacMillan), Dwight Frye (Eddie Anders); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Frederick Stephani; MGM; 1940)|
of MGM's three super-sleuth Nick Carter crime dramas
is the best one in the series."
by Dennis Schwartz
second of MGM's three super-sleuth Nick Carter crime
dramas is the best one in the series. It's a taut and
fast-paced enjoyable programmer, that's effectively
directed by Jacques Tourneur ("Cat People"/"I
Walked With A Zombie"/"Berlin Express"). It's based on
a story by Jonathan Latimer and is written by
a Scotland Yard agent (John Burton)
is killed investigating sabotage of merchant ships in
international insurance firm, Llewelyn's of London,
hires skirt chaser American private detective Nick
Carter (Walter Pidgeon), vacationing in Panama,
to investigate the mysterious disappearance of British
merchant ships passing through the Panama Canal.
Nick's assistant is the zany bee fancier Bartholomew
When Nick spots American
Taurez (Joseph Schildkraut) operating a crooked
seaman's union in Panama, he figures he's the one
behind the sabotage. Upon further investigation Nick
learns that once a ship is declared missing, Taurez
collects the insurance money on the falsified cargo.
So far three ships are missing. After a bungled
assassination attempt on his life, in his hotel room,
by Taurez henchman Eddie (Dwight Frye), the
PI knows for certain that the knife-throwing Taurez is
behind the scheme. Also involved are Franklin Morris (Cecil Kellaway),
owner of the Morris Shipping Company; Dr. Grisson
(Thomas Ross), a mad scientist inventor of a device
that can be set in Taurez's office and blow-up a ship
at sea if it has on board a radio receiver; the
corrupt official Ramsell, Sr. (Matthew
Boulton), who signs off on the insurance
claims; and the gangster's flunkies such as Taurez's
dim-witted ex-fighter bodyguard Gunboat (Nat Pendleton),
who is unaware the boss is killing merchant sailors
and destroying ships.
along for the ride are the dispatcher for Morris's
shipping company, Cora Barnes (Florence Rice), and her honest
boyfriend, the corrupt official's son, a first mate
ambitious to become a captain, John Ramsell, Jr. (John
Carroll). Tension mounts when he gets a
command, thanks to Taurez, and the explosive device is
Meek steals the delightful pic as the comical bee keeper who always pops up when his boss is in danger.
REVIEWED ON 10/8/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ