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The Dawn Express

The Dawn Express(1942)

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Two chemists are kidnapped and murdered by Nazi spies led by Captain Gemmler, who wants a new secret formula for doubling the power of ordinary gasoline. Gemmler next sets his sights on two other chemists working on the project: Tom Fielding, a playboy, and his co-worker, Robert Norton, who is engaged to Tom's sister Nancy. One night, Tom meets Linda Pavlo, a Polish refugee, at The Tavern, an Alpine-style restaurant. When Tom reports to work late the next morning, Bob warns him against taking up with women he meets at bars. After a government agent, James Curtis, informs Franklyn Prescott, the president of the chemical company, of the double murder, Prescott explains his security plan: His plant is working on one half of the formula, while another plant on the East Coast is working on the other half. However, Curtis reports that the East Coast project has been sabotaged by one of its own chemists, who absconded with half of the formula, and has since been identified as the infamous German chemist Karl Schmidt. That night, Curtis' agents follow both Tom and Bob. When Tom returns to The Tavern to meet Linda, who is actually a Nazi operative, he is lured into Gemmler's office, where Gemmler threatens to harm Nancy and their mother if Tom does not give him the formula. The agent following Tom is murdered by Gemmler's spies. The next day, Prescott and Curtis tell Bob that they suspect Tom of treason and murder, but Bob insists that Tom is innocent. No one is aware that Nancy, who is Prescott's secretary, is eavesdropping on their conversation. Tom later confides in Bob, and when he next meets with Linda, she offers him $100,000 in exchange for the formula. That night, Tom, Bob and Nancy team up to rout the spies. While Tom retrieves the secret component of the formula from the laboratory, Bob meets with Linda, who takes him to Gemmler. Bob gives Gemmler the formula, but Tom appears and argues over the money. Gemmler withholds payment and his thugs knock Bob out when he protests Tom's interference. As Schmidt is due to arrive soon by plane, Gemmler and his staff then head for the airport, taking Tom with them. Government agents arrest Linda and some of Gemmler's cohorts, but are too late to catch the ringleader. Gemmler forces Tom onto Schmidt's plane, which takes off soon after landing. While in flight, Schmidt insists on testing the formula, and Tom, knowing that the interests of his country are at stake, sacrifices his own life by using the secret element improperly, thereby causing the plane to explode.