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Marines Fly High

Marines Fly High(1940)

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Marines Fly High (1940)

RKO crammed enough action into this 68-minte programmer for a quartet of Indiana Jones movies. It all starts when bandits led by the mysterious El Vengador stage a series of raids on Lucille Ball's Central American coffee plantation. For help, he calls on a platoon of Marines staging training maneuvers nearby, a move that nets her a good deal of help and a romantic triangle. The two officers assigned to smoke out the bandits (Richard Dix and Chester Morris) both fall for the future TV star and spend as much time vying for her affections as they do hunting down bad guys. The triangle hardly gets in the way of the action, which includes plane crashes, shoot-outs, ambushes and a deadly trap set for the fighting forces. The studio version of jungle life was nothing new for Ball, who was a regular feature in RKO B movies like Panama Lady, not to mention the more prestigious Five Came Back (both 1939). And though she didn't get to flex her comic muscles much, at least the film let her look fetching in her plantation attire. Director George Nichols, Jr. died unexpectedly in a car accident during filming, forcing RKO to replace him with Benjamin Stoloff.

By Frank Miller

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