King of the Rocket Men (1949, Fred C. Brannon), Chapter 5: Fatal Dive

Not much happens in Fatal Dive before the action–i.e. fisticuffs–starts. Tristram Coffin gets out of the previous chapter’s cliffhanger, inexplicably abandoning the interrupted fight, and heads off to consult with scientist on the lam James Craven.

Meanwhile, House Peters Jr. is hanging around Mae Clarke’s apartment again and they decided it’s got to be Coffin who’s the villain. They go to investigate and get further convinced, just as Coffin is convinced he’s closer to finding the big bad himself.

The story lines collide; there are fisticuffs and Clarke on damsel duty. It’s all prologue to getting Coffin–in his Rocket Man gear–having to chase after a small airplane.

Fatal Dive isn’t a strong chapter, but it’s got a decent amount of charm–the barn location for the fight is something–before it falls back on high flying thrills. Those thrills are what King is all about and it delivers.


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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