Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939)

57 or 60 mins | Drama | 15 December 1939

Director:

Jacques Tourneur

Producer:

Lucien Hubbard

Cinematographer:

Charles Lawton

Editor:

Elmo Vernon

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this picture was Nick Carter , and according to the Var review, it was the first in a proposed series of films based on the adventures of the dime novel detective Nick Carter. According to modern sources, M-G-M bought the screen rights to all 1,100 of the Nick Carter stories in the 1930s, planning to release a series of films based on them. The series did not begin until 1939 however, with the production of this film. The series, which consisted of three films, each starring Walter Pidgeon as Nick Carter, were all based on original screenplays and not the Nick Carter stories. The 1940 film Sky Murder was the last in the series. For further information, consult the Series Index. M-G-M publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library file on the film add that the picture was shot on location at the Lockheed Airplane Works in Burbank, CA, and that it marked Jacques Tourneur's debut as a feature film length director at M-G-M, although he previously had directed portions of A Tale of Two Cities and other ... More Less

The working title of this picture was Nick Carter , and according to the Var review, it was the first in a proposed series of films based on the adventures of the dime novel detective Nick Carter. According to modern sources, M-G-M bought the screen rights to all 1,100 of the Nick Carter stories in the 1930s, planning to release a series of films based on them. The series did not begin until 1939 however, with the production of this film. The series, which consisted of three films, each starring Walter Pidgeon as Nick Carter, were all based on original screenplays and not the Nick Carter stories. The 1940 film Sky Murder was the last in the series. For further information, consult the Series Index. M-G-M publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library file on the film add that the picture was shot on location at the Lockheed Airplane Works in Burbank, CA, and that it marked Jacques Tourneur's debut as a feature film length director at M-G-M, although he previously had directed portions of A Tale of Two Cities and other films. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
5 Dec 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Dec 39
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 39
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
12 Dec 39
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
11 Nov 39
p. 55.
Motion Picture Herald
9 Dec 39
p. 72.
New York Times
14 Dec 39
p. 35.
Variety
13 Dec 39
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Nick Carter
Release Date:
15 December 1939
Production Date:
began September 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 December 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9288
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
57 or 60
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5821
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

John Keller, the inventor of a revolutionary new plane, is joined on his flight to the Radex Airplane Factory in California by detective Nick Carter, who masquerades as Robert Chalmers, the new assistant to plant president Hiram Streeter. Once they are airbound, the pilot feigns motor trouble and lands the plane to rendezvous with a group of spies intent upon stealing Keller's plans. Nick foils their plot, however, and, guided by the flying expertise of stewardess Lou Farnsby, the plane and its contents safely reach California. At the Radex Plant, Streeter explains to Nick that top secret blue prints have been stolen, despite tight security. The future of the plant hinges upon the development of Keller's new high speed plane, and consequently, Streeter has sent for Nick Carter to investigate. Nick's list of suspects includes Lou, and he asks Streeter to reassign her to the infirmary. Nick is aided in his investigation by Bartholomew, a bothersome amateur sleuth who appoints himself the detective's assistant. When sabotage destroys the test flight of the new plane, Nick begins to suspect Keller until the inventor is murdered. Noticing that a string of accidents at the plant have coincided with the disappearance of the blue prints, Nick asks Lou to watch Dr. Frankton at the infirmary. When Nick catches one of Frankton's patients with photos of the plans taped underneath his bandages, Frankton realizes that he is about to be arrested and arranges for Lou to be taken hostage. Demanding safe passage from the plant, Frankton makes his getaway by boat. Nick and Streeter then trail him by plane and alert the harbor patrol ... +


John Keller, the inventor of a revolutionary new plane, is joined on his flight to the Radex Airplane Factory in California by detective Nick Carter, who masquerades as Robert Chalmers, the new assistant to plant president Hiram Streeter. Once they are airbound, the pilot feigns motor trouble and lands the plane to rendezvous with a group of spies intent upon stealing Keller's plans. Nick foils their plot, however, and, guided by the flying expertise of stewardess Lou Farnsby, the plane and its contents safely reach California. At the Radex Plant, Streeter explains to Nick that top secret blue prints have been stolen, despite tight security. The future of the plant hinges upon the development of Keller's new high speed plane, and consequently, Streeter has sent for Nick Carter to investigate. Nick's list of suspects includes Lou, and he asks Streeter to reassign her to the infirmary. Nick is aided in his investigation by Bartholomew, a bothersome amateur sleuth who appoints himself the detective's assistant. When sabotage destroys the test flight of the new plane, Nick begins to suspect Keller until the inventor is murdered. Noticing that a string of accidents at the plant have coincided with the disappearance of the blue prints, Nick asks Lou to watch Dr. Frankton at the infirmary. When Nick catches one of Frankton's patients with photos of the plans taped underneath his bandages, Frankton realizes that he is about to be arrested and arranges for Lou to be taken hostage. Demanding safe passage from the plant, Frankton makes his getaway by boat. Nick and Streeter then trail him by plane and alert the harbor patrol of his location. After their plane is downed during a daring shootout at sea, Bartholomew and the harbor patrol arrive to rescue Nick and Streeter and arrest the spies. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Espionage, Detective


Subject
Subject (Major):

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.