|Directed by||Spencer Gordon Bennet
Fred F. Sears
|Produced by||Sam Katzman|
|Written by||Royal K. Cole
Sherman L. Lowe
George H. Plympton
Will Eisner (characters)
Don C. Harvey
|Music by||Mischa Bakaleinikoff|
|Edited by||Earl Turner|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||US 1 July 1952|
|Running time||15 chapters (242 min) B&W|
Blackhawk is a 1952 Columbia movie serial based on the comic book Blackhawk published at the time by Quality Comics. The serial carried the subtitle "Fearless Champion of Freedom"; it was Columbia's 49th serial.
It stars Kirk Alyn as Blackhawk and Carol Forman as the foreign spy that must be stopped from stealing the experimental super-fuel "Element-X"; Alyn and Forman were also the hero and villain of Columbia's earlier Superman. Blackhawk was produced by the famously cheap Sam Katzman and directed by the team of Spencer Gordon Bennet and Fred F. Sears. It is considered relatively cheap and lackluster, made in the waning years of movie serial production.
A flying squadron of World War II veterans, The International Brotherhood, is a private flying investigative force led by Blackhawk. They uncover a gang of underworld henchmen, led by the notorious foreign spy Laska, who reports to The Leader, a mystery man. During the a serial's 15 chapters, Blackhawk and his flying squadron set about bringing these criminals to justice.
- Kirk Alyn as Blackhawk, the "Fearless Champion of Freedom"
- Carol Forman as Laska, foreign spy working for The Leader
- John Crawford as Chuck
- Michael Fox as William Case/The Leader
- Don Harvey as Olaf
- Rick Vallin as Stan (a Blackhawk) and his twin Boris (an agent of The Leader)
- Larry Stewart as Andre
- Weaver Levy as Chop-Chop
- Zon Murray as Bork
- Nick Stuart as Cress
- Marshall Reed as Aller
- Pierce Lyden as Dyke
- William Fawcett as Dr. Rolph
- Rory Mallinson as Hodge
- Frank Ellis as Hendrickson
Writer George Plympton described a production staff meeting where they listened to a recording of the short-lived Blackhawk radio series. Everyone at the meeting was "aghast at the confusing babble of accents." For Columbia's serial, all of the Blackhawks speak with standard American accents.
In chapter 3 Kirk Alyn performs a potentially dangerous stunt without the use of a stunt double. In order to save the life of squadron member Stan, who's tied to a stake in the path of a taxiing plane, Blackhawk (Alyn) runs up to the vehicle and turns it aside by grabbing the wing. A hidden pilot inside the plane steered it to simulate the movement. When writing this scene, the screenwriters were thinking of a small lighter wood-and-canvas plane, not the heavy metal aircraft used in the final scene; it could have easily killed Alyn if the stunt's timing had gone wrong.
William C. Cline describes the serial as a "pretty good airplane adventure" in his book In the Nick of Time. Despite this, Blackhawk was the last aviation serial; fliers had rapidly become less impressive in American popular culture, and science fiction was taking its place.
Made in the 1950s, Blackhawk was produced after the movie serial's heyday; many from this period were generally inferior to those made in the previous decade.
- Distress Call from Space
- Blackhawk Traps a Traitor
- In the Enemy's Hideout
- The Iron Monster
- Human Targets
- Blackhawk's Leap for Life
- Mystery Fuel
- Blasted from the Sky
- Blackhawk Tempts Fate
- Chase for Element X
- Forced Down
- Drums of Doom
- Blackhawk's Daring Plan
- Blackhawk's Wild Ride
- The Leader Unmasked
- The great movie serials: their sound and fury, Jim Harmon, Donald F. Glut, 1973, p.160. Books.google.com. 1973. ISBN 9780713000979. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
- Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "7. The Aviators "Land That Plane at Once, You Crazy Fool"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 161–163. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
- Cline, William C. (1984). "2. In Search of Ammunition". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 27. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
- Images: A Journal of Film and Popular Culture - The Decline of the Serial
- Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 253–254. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.