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At the Metropolitan

By Peter B. Taub

Humphrey Bogart is currently chasing across the Metropolitan screen at a speed substantially better than that of sound; unfortunately the rest of the cast has trouble keeping up this strenuous pace. Hence "Chain Lightning" is only an average motion picture.

"Chain Lightning" is a story of post-war jet piloting. Matt Brennan (Bogart), is a former B-17 ace who becomes chief test pilot for Leland Willis (Raymond Massey) after the war, finds his wartime love (Eleanor Parker) working as Willis secretary and her new fiance, Carl Troxell (Richard Whorf), designing planes for Willis.

Troxell shows Matt his secret-a pressurized "pod" cockpit for jet planes which can be shot upward to land by parachute and save distressed pilots. While Matt is making himself a cool $25,000 piloting a jet from Nome over the Pole to Washington, Troxell dies when the "pod" fails in a premature test. Miss Parker accuses Matt of responsibility for this accident, warning that Troxell's ghost would come between them if they contemplated a life together. The nest day, Matt lands safely in the "pod" as his flaming plane crashes. Miss Parker rushes to him, and damn if that ghost doesn't disappear.

Technically, "Chain Lightning" is accurate- the jet flying shots are the best pat of the film. There are some impressive climax scenes: when Brennan lands in Washington with an empty gas tank, and when his chute opens out against a background of clouds at the end of the picture. Bogart is equally competent whether he is zipping through space or singing "Bless Them All," but Miss Parker's acting in her co-starring scenes is somewhat hackneyed.

"Chain Lightning" does have a moderate amount of excitement and suspense. It is nothing sensational, but it doesn't drag either. The second feature, something called "Blonde Dynamite," stars Leo Goreey and The Bowery Boys and has absolutely nothing to recommend it. Avoid it at all costs.

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