The Great Plane Robbery (1940)

53 mins | Drama | 9 December 1940

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Keep Him Alive . The picture was also reviewed under the title The Great Plane Robber ... More Less

The working title of this film was Keep Him Alive . The picture was also reviewed under the title The Great Plane Robber . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
26 Nov 40
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 40
p. 7.
Motion Picture Daily
20 Nov 40
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
25 May 40
p. 40.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Nov 40
p. 49.
New York Times
15 Nov 40
p. 25.
Variety
20 Nov 40
p. 18.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Great Plane Robber
Keep Him Alive
Release Date:
9 December 1940
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 15 November 1940
Production Date:
14 April--24 April 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
29 November 1940
Copyright Number:
LP10089
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
53
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6338
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Special agent Mike Henderson is assigned by an insurance company to guard Joe Colson, a gangster who has been released from prison just three months before his $500,000 life insurance policy is due to expire. Arriving at Leavenworth on the day of Colson's release, Mike finds two gangsters, Eddie Lindo and Nick Harmon, awaiting their former boss. Lindo and Harmon greet their old boss effusively and then escort him to a departing airplane. Mike, closely following, also boards the plane. That night, at a prearranged point, Harmon and Lindo pull their guns and order the pilot to land near a hunting lodge, where Frankie Toller, Colson's successsor in the rackets, waits. At the lodge, Toller announces that he intends to hold Colson prisoner until he divulges where he has hidden his fortune. Mistaking Mike for an old friend of Colson's, Toller inducts him into the gang. The disappearance of the plane causes a national sensation, and the next morning, while listening to the radio, the gang learns that an insurance company detective was on the missing plane, and they assume that the detective must be terrified salesman Homer Pringle. Having convinced Toller that Colson is penniless, Mike suggests that Pringle be forced to telephone the insurance company and offer to ransom Colson. Accordingly, Mike and two others take Pringle into town, where Mike stages a fake killing of Pringle. After shooting him with blanks, Mike and the gang members return to the lodge while Pringle calls the police. Mike's scheme works, and as Toller prepares to flee across the border, the police arrive and arrest the gang. Afterward, as the plane and passengers finally ... +


Special agent Mike Henderson is assigned by an insurance company to guard Joe Colson, a gangster who has been released from prison just three months before his $500,000 life insurance policy is due to expire. Arriving at Leavenworth on the day of Colson's release, Mike finds two gangsters, Eddie Lindo and Nick Harmon, awaiting their former boss. Lindo and Harmon greet their old boss effusively and then escort him to a departing airplane. Mike, closely following, also boards the plane. That night, at a prearranged point, Harmon and Lindo pull their guns and order the pilot to land near a hunting lodge, where Frankie Toller, Colson's successsor in the rackets, waits. At the lodge, Toller announces that he intends to hold Colson prisoner until he divulges where he has hidden his fortune. Mistaking Mike for an old friend of Colson's, Toller inducts him into the gang. The disappearance of the plane causes a national sensation, and the next morning, while listening to the radio, the gang learns that an insurance company detective was on the missing plane, and they assume that the detective must be terrified salesman Homer Pringle. Having convinced Toller that Colson is penniless, Mike suggests that Pringle be forced to telephone the insurance company and offer to ransom Colson. Accordingly, Mike and two others take Pringle into town, where Mike stages a fake killing of Pringle. After shooting him with blanks, Mike and the gang members return to the lodge while Pringle calls the police. Mike's scheme works, and as Toller prepares to flee across the border, the police arrive and arrest the gang. Afterward, as the plane and passengers finally reach their destination, Colson is taken into custody for an old offense, thus offering sufficient assurance to Mike that he will live out his policy. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.