Flight Command (1940) starring Robert Taylor, Walter Pidgeon, Ruth Hussey, Red Skelton
I originally watched Flight Command because it was one of Red Skelton‘s earliest movie roles — which is technically true; Red’s in the film as part of the Hellcats squadron, acting as the class clown, but he’s definitely a secondary character. Flight Command is primarily about a brash young pilot, Alan Drake (played by Robert Taylor) who’s recruited straight out of college to join the premier squad of Navy Hellcats. He has trouble fitting in at first, although the flight commander (played by a young and dashing Walter Pidgeon) tries to help — as does the commander’s wife (played by Ruth Hussey). There’s a suspected romantic triangle between Drake and the commander’s wife (which was only him trying to console her on the death of her brother) — but all turns out well in the end.
The Mummy’s Hand (1940) starring Dick Foran, Wallace Ford, Peggy Moran
If there’s one deadly sin committed by The Mummy’s Hand, it’s that it’s too slow–and I’m not talking about the shambling movement of Kharis the living mummy. The titular mummy doesn’t make his first appearance until an hour into the movie, which has spent far too long in setting the scene. For instance, handsome, young archaeologist Steve Banning (Dick Foran) is stuck in Egypt. Without the funds to pursue his archeological dig. And his friend Babe Jensen (Wallace Ford) is along as comic relief.
The Invisible Man Returns (1940) starring Vincent Price, Nan Grey, Cedric Hardwicke, Cecil Kellaway
The Invisible Man Returns is an excellent movie, due to no small degree to the acting skills of Vincent Price. Vincent Price is Geoffrey Radcliffe, the proverbial “man convicted of a murder that he didn’t commit” — the murder of his own brother. Soon to be executed, he’s given an unexpected last-minute reprieve — but not from the state. He’s visited by Dr. Frank Griffin (John Sutton), the brother of the original Invisible Man, who offers to inject him with the unstable invisibility formula, warning him of the side effect: gradual insanity. Stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, Vincent Price makes Hobson’s choice — and chooses the injection, hoping to find the actual murderer before he’s driven to insanity. At the same time, Dr. Griffin will try to find an antidote for the invisibility formula.
Abe Lincoln in Illinois is one of the best movie biographies that I’ve ever seen, bar none – a riveting biography, with excellent acting by Raymond Massey, who literally becomes the title character – highly recommended.Read More »Abe Lincoln in Illinois
The Invisible Woman (1940), starring Virginia Bruce, Charles Lane, John Barrymore
The original The Invisible Man was a horror movie, mostly faithful to the original novel by H.G. Wells. The sequel, The Invisible Man Returns starring Vincent Price was equal parts horror movie, romance, and crime story. In contrast, The Invisible Woman is a comedy — a very enjoyable comedy.