Sky Bandits (1940 film)

Sky Bandits, also known as Renfrew of the Royal Mounted in Sky Bandits, is a 1940 American film directed by Ralph Staub and released by Monogram Pictures, starring James Newill, Louise Stanley, Dewey Robinson and William Pawley.[1] The film is a remake of the film Ghost Patrol (1936) with a musical/action formula, similar to the format of the "singing cowboy" films of the era.[2]

Sky Bandits
Film poster
Directed byRalph Staub
Produced byPhil Goldstone
Written byEdward Halperin (screenplay)
Based onRenfrew Rides the Sky (novel)
by Laurie York Erskine
Music by
CinematographyMack Stengler
Edited byMartin G. Cohn
Criterion Pictures Corp.
Distributed byMonogram Pictures
Release date
  • July 7, 1940 (1940-07-07)
Running time
62 minutes
CountryUnited States


Sergeant Renfrew (James Newill) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Constable Kelly (Dave O'Brien) fly in search of a missing aircraft flown by Buzz Murphy (Eddie Featherston). Murphy was carrying a shipment of gold from the Yukon Mine Company. Local radio announcer Uncle Dimwittie (Dewey Robinson), has bugged the mine office, and is secretly transmitting information about gold shipments, in the guise of reading children's stories on the air.

The messages are picked up by a gang led by a crook named Morgan (William Pawley). They have forced Professor Lewis (Joe De Stefani) to work on a powerful ray gun invented by a scientist named Speavy (Dwight Frye). The radio beam the weapon sends out disables aircraft engines. Speavy is worried that his invention is being used by the crooks, and tries to warn Renfrew, but the scientist is killed by Morgan.

Madeleine (Louise Stanley), the daughter of Professor Lewis, tries to help Renfrew who finds a laboratory that Morgan is operating but it is destroyed. When no one on the force believes he has discovered the secret of the lost aircraft, Renfrew volunteers to fly the next gold shipment. Madeleine stows away on board the aircraft Renfrew is piloting. Morgan and his gang are also in the air, and while the professor can bring down Renfrew with the ray gun, but he turns it, instead on Morgan's aircraft. Constable Kelly then rides to Morgan's hideout and, with the professor's help, arrests the rest of the gang.



Sergeant Renfrew of the Royal Mounted was a character created by Laurie York Erskine in 1922 and continued in books, stories and on radio for many years. Sky Bandits was the last in Monogram's Renfrew series. Some scenes were shot at Big Bear Lake, California, standing in for the Yukon.[3] Renrew's character flies a Waco RNF (NC860V) while the crooks fly a Travel Air 4000 (c/n 868, NC9087).[4]


  • James Newill - "Mounted Men" (Written by Betty Laidlaw and Robert Lively)
  • James Newill - "Lady in the Clouds" (Written by Betty Laidlaw and Robert Lively)
  • James Newill - "Alley-Oop" (Written by Betty Laidlaw and Robert Lively)


Sky Bandits was not reviewed in trade sources.[3]

See also




    1. Farmer 1984, p. 323.
    2. ""Movie connections for Sky Bandits." IMDb. Retrieved: December 28, 2011.
    3. "Notes: Sky Bandits (1940)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: November 2, 2014.
    4. "Sky Bandits." Retrieved: November 2, 2014.


    • Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
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