The Crooked Sky
Cast & Crew
In London, Her Majesty's Treasury is concerned about an influx of £500,000 in counterfeit one-pound notes. Tom Alanson, an American radio engineer for a freight line flying between Britain and the United States, is a member of the gang smuggling in the fake currency. Deciding he wants out, Alanson goes to Scotland Yard to confess and is followed by two fellow gang members who stab him to death. Yard Inspector "Mac" MacAuley has determined that the forged notes are probably originating in the United States and so contacts the U.S. Treasury, where investigator Mike Conlin is assigned to the case. After examining a fake pound note found in Alanson's possession, Mike suggests that the freight line was in an excellent position to ferry in the counterfeit currency. Believing that other employees of the freight line could be involved, Mike flies to London and, posing as an efficiency expert, gains access to the company's base of operations. During his inspection of the freight line, Mike meets radio engineer Sandra Hastings, Alanson's fiancée, and the sister of Bill Hastings, who is also a radio operator. While canvassing some woods near company headquarters, where a new runway is to be built, Mike witnesses the fatal shooting of another company employee. After revealing his true identity to the local police inspector, who has come to investigate the murder, Mike goes to London to consult with Mac and suggests that the fake currency might have been concealed in radio equipment removed from the plane after each flight. Later, at an illegal gambling club in London, Bill introduces Sandra to Frank Fraser, the club's operator and, unknown to her, the head of the counterfeit ring. In private, Bill, who became involved in the ring to earn money to start his own charter company, tells Fraser that he is concerned about the recent murders and worries that he may be next. After a gambler named Smith, who is in considerable debt to Fraser, commits suicide and some counterfeit notes are found among his belongings, along with a list of gambling clubs, the police begin to investigate Fraser and others. While Mike continues to look for evidence, Sandra is still perplexed by Alanson's death and worried by Bill's behavior. Eventually, Bill warns Fraser about Mike's snooping, and when Bill expresses his desire to quit, Fraser convinces him to change his mind. Fraser assigns two thugs to follow Mike, and they discover that Mike and Mac are working together when they see them leave after questioning Smith's employer. When Sandra accuses Bill of being involved in a crooked scheme with Fraser, Bill tells her not to worry and leaves on a flight. After Sandra tells Mike about Fraser, Mike gains entry to Fraser's house, where he finds many counterfeit pound notes in a desk drawer before he is surprised by Fraser and his henchmen. Fraser orders his men to take Mike to a wooded area and dispose of him, but Mike escapes. When Fraser's girl friend, Penny, takes several bundles of counterfeit notes from his safe to buy an expensive necklace, the money is traced back to Fraser. With Mac's help, Mike makes plans to round up the entire gang, and when Bill returns from the U.S., has him followed to Fraser's house. After Bill informs Fraser that the notes are still on the plane, Fraser is tipped off by one of his thugs that a police raid is imminent. At gunpoint, Fraser then orders Bill to take him to the air base and fly him out of the country. At the base, upon learning that Bill did not take the notes to Fraser, Mike boards the plane to search for them. When Fraser and Bill arrive at the plane, Fraser shoots Mike in the shoulder, incapacitating him, then orders Bill to fly to France, although Bill warns him that all airports will be closed to them. Strapping on a parachute pack, in which the gang has been smuggling the currency, Fraser plans to jump from the plane and escape, unaware that the parachute's silk canopy has been removed to accommodate more counterfeit notes. Bill then puts the plane on automatic pilot, attacks Fraser and, during their fight, Fraser falls out of the plane. The parachute fails to open and Fraser plummets to his death. Back at the base, Mike assures Sandra and Bill that, due to Bill's actions in the air that day, it is unlikely that he will be prosecuted.
Guy Kingsley Poynter
Charles F. Vetter Jr .
The cast order varies slightly between the opening credits and the closing cast list. The print viewed included the statement "Copyright MCMLVII by Amalgamated Productions, Inc.," but the film was not registered in the U.S. at the time of its original release. Amalgamated registered the film for copyright on December 24, 1985 under the number PA-308-271. "Lance Hargreaves," one of the writers of the original story, was a pseudonym of executive producer Charles F. Vetter, Jr.
A August 13, 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that actor Wayne Morris was a last-minute replacement for an ailing Tom Conway and incorrectly lists the studio at which the film was to be shot. When the film was released in Britain in 1957, it ran seventy-seven minutes. The print viewed, probably cut for television use, ran seven minutes less. The character "Penny" is twice referred to in the film as "Colette," the name of the actress who portrayed her. No U.S. reviews of the film have been located.