Danger Patrol

Danger Patrol

Lobby card for the film
Directed by Lew Landers
Produced by Maury M. Cohen
Screenplay by Sy Bartlett
Story by Helen Vreeland
Hilda Vincent
Starring Sally Eilers
John Beal
Harry Carey
Cinematography Nicholas Musuraca
Edited by Ted Cheesman
Release dates
  • December 3, 1937 (1937-12-03) (US)[1]
Running time
60 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Danger Patrol is a 1937 American drama film directed by Lew Landers from a screenplay by Sy Bartlett based on a story by Helen Vreeland and Hilda Vincent. Produced and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, it was released on December 3, 1937 and stars Sally Eilers, John Beal, and Harry Carey.


Dan Loring is a medical student who is in need of extra money. Hearing of an opportunity, he travels to Texas, where he signs on to transport highly-explosive nitroglycerin, called "soup handling", despite warnings from the company's owner. He is teamed with Sam Street, a veteran nitro handler, who introduces him to his daughter, Cathie. Cathie has been trying to get her father to leave the business for years.

As time passes, Cathie and Dan develop a romantic relationship. Eventually, she begins to ask Dan to leave the business, afraid for his safety. He says that he can't stop until he's saved enough money for the two of them to marry. Not wanting to live in fear, Cathie breaks up with him. Not long after, she agrees to marry Dan's rival, Eric Trumble. When Dan hears about her betrothal he agrees to travel on a flight with nitro to an oil rig which is on fire. It is a highly dangerous mission, but he will receive a $1000 bonus. When Sam learns of Dan's volunteering, he tries to dissuade him from taking the assignment. When Dan won't listen, Sam knocks him out, and takes his place.

During the flight, the plane crashes and explodes, killing Sam, along with the pilot. When Dan consoles Cathie, the two reconcile, and Dan agrees to leave the business.


(Cast list as per AFI database.[1])


In May 1937, two secretaries who worked at 20th Century Fox, Helen Vreeland and Hilda Vincent sold their story entitled Highway to Hell to RKO Radio Pictures.[2][3] Shortly after, RKO assigned Sy Bartlett to turn the story into a screenplay.[4] In September, Lew Landers was tagged to direct the film, while Maury Cohen was selected to handle the production.[5] In mid-September, it was announced that John Beal and Sally Eilers would join the cast,[6][7] followed shortly by the addition of Harry Carey, Lee Patrick, Frank Thomas, Ed Gargan, Paul Guilfoyle, and Herman Brix.[8] The picture was filmed during September,[1] and by the 22nd was being edited.[9] At the beginning of October RKO changed the title of the film from Highway to Hell to Danger Patrol.[10] In early November it was announced that RKO would be releasing Danger Patrol on December 3, 1937.[11] The National Legion of Decency gave the film an A-1 grade, rating it suitable for all audiences.[12]


The Film Daily gave the film a good review, calling it a "neatly done picture with suspense, drama, and excitement." They appreciated the acting of both Beal and Eilers, and also highlighted the supporting performances of Frank Thomas, Ed Gargan and Paul Guilfoyle. They felt the cinematography was good, as was the direction, which they felt maintained a good pace.[13] However, Harrison's Reports did not enjoy the film, saying it was only "moderately entertaining". Unlike The Film Daily, they felt the movie was slowly paced, and had too much dialogue and not enough action.[14]


  1. 1 2 3 "Danger Patrol: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  2. Wilks, Ralph (May 12, 1937). "A "Little" from "Lots"". The Film Daily. p. 10. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  3. "Story Buys". Variety. May 12, 1937. p. 23. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  4. Wilk, Ralph (May 18, 1937). "A "Little" from "Lots"". The Film Daily. p. 12. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  5. "He'll Show the Way". Variety. September 15, 1937. p. 23. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  6. Wilk, Ralph (September 13, 1937). "A "Little" from Hollywood "Lots"". The Film Daily. p. 7. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  7. Wilk, Ralph (September 14, 1937). "A "Little" from "Lots"". The Film Daily. p. 7. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  8. "The Hollywood Scene". Motion Picture Herald. September 25, 1937. p. 27. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  9. "Advance Production Chart". Variety. September 22, 1937. p. 25. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  10. "'Twas Busy Day". Motion Picture Daily. October 5, 1937. p. 1. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  11. "RKO Radio at Halfway Mark of Year's 56-Pix Program". The Film Daily. November 11, 1937. p. 7. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  12. "Legion Approves 14 Pictures for Week". Motion Picture Daily. November 29, 1937. p. 11. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  13. "Reviews of New Films: "Danger Patrol"". The Film Daily. November 27, 1937. p. 3. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  14. ""Danger Patrol" with John Beal, Sally Eilers and Harry Carey". Harrison's Reports. December 4, 1937. p. 195. Retrieved January 18, 2016.

External links

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