King of the Rocket Men (1949, Fred C. Brannon), Chapter 8: Suicide Flight

Maybe I missed Tristram Coffin revealing his Rocket Man identity to Mae Clarke and House Peters Jr. Or maybe they just don’t question only Rocket Man ever coming to their rescue after Coffin has put them in danger.

This chapter is a mild improvement over the previous one, though the cliffhanger resolutions are getting incredibly lazy. Even though the cliffhanger composite shots are decent–it’s a molten lava-related crisis–the resolution is humdrum.

Coffin and Peters then concoct a dumb plan to catch the mysterious Dr. Vulcan, who mostly falls for it. Coffin thinks he’s finally going to find him out. Instead, it’s just another fistfight with chief thug Don Haggerty. Haggerty and Coffin’s antagonism gives Suicide Flight some energy. But then it’s just another chase sequence, another Clarke in danger sequence.

I just realized, starting this chapter, Clarke is the only woman anywhere in King of the Rocket Men. They probably didn’t need her, especially as she’s been reduced to offering her hands for binding. Her feistiness apparently only manifests when there aren’t too many men punching each other.

Suicide Flight has a pretty decent cliffhanger, though I’ve lost all confidence in Rocket Men to resolve it well.


Directed by Fred C. Brannon; written by Royal K. Cole, William Lively, and Sol Shor; director of photography, Ellis W. Carter; edited by Cliff Bell Sr. and Sam Starr; music by Stanley Wilson; released by Republic Pictures.

Starring Tristram Coffin (Jeffrey King), Mae Clarke (Glenda Thomas), Don Haggerty (Tony Dirken), House Peters Jr. (Burt Winslow), James Craven (Prof. Millard), I. Stanford Jolley (Prof. Bryant), Ted Adams (Prof. Conway), and Stanley Price (Prof. Von Strum).


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