The Shadow (serial)

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The Shadow
The Shadow-serial.jpg
Directed by James W. Horne
Written by Joseph O'Donnell
Ned Dandy
Joseph Poland
Screenplay, based on the stories created by
Walter B. Gibson
Starring Victor Jory
Veda Ann Borg
Roger Moore
Robert Fiske
Music by Lee Zahler
Cinematography James S. Brown Jr.
Edited by Dwight Caldwell
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • January 5, 1940 (1940-01-05)
Running time
15 chapters
285 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Shadow (1940) was the ninth serial released by Columbia Pictures. It was based upon the classic radio series and pulp magazine character with the same name.


The Shadow battles a villain known as The Black Tiger, who has the power to make himself invisible and is attempting world domination.


  • Victor Jory as Lamont Cranston alias The Shadow. Victor Jory "visually and audibly conveyed the required image of Cranston (and the 'man of mystery') more credibly than any other actor of that time that can be brought to mind."[1]
  • Veda Ann Borg as Margo Lane. Borg played Margo Lane as brash and slightly cynical, in a departure from her urbane sophistication in the radio show and pulp magazines.[1]
  • Roger Moore as Harry Vincent
  • Robert Fiske as Stanford Marshall, business leader
  • J. Paul Jones as Mr. Turner, business leader
  • Jack Ingram as Flint, chief thug
  • Edward Peil Sr. as Inspector Joe Cardona
  • Philip Ahn as Wu Yung
  • Charles King as Henchman Russell
  • Tom London as Driver of Hi-jacked Truck



The Shadow was released on 1 June 1940, Veda Ann Borg's 25th birthday.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Opinion on the serial, especially as an adaptation on the pulp magazine source material, is mixed. Harmon and Glut are critical of the serial. Filming The Shadow in brightly lit environments undermines the mystery and menace of the character. The quality of the plotting is also brought into question for its lack of imagination and the fact that the hero appears to survive cliffhangers and threats for no reason other than that he is the hero.[2] On the other hand, Cline praises the serial. The mystery of the pulp magazine was preserved in the serial by both the hero and villain being masked. This lent an ambiguity from the point of view of the other characters that also pervaded the source material, so "for the audience the result was perfectly compatible and a pure delight."[1]

Chapter titles[edit]

  1. The Doomed City
  2. The Shadow Attacks
  3. The Shadow's Peril
  4. In the Tiger's Lair
  5. Danger Above
  6. The Shadow's Trap
  7. Where Horror Waits
  8. The Shadow Rides the Rails
  9. The Devil in White
  10. The Underground Trap
  11. Chinatown Night
  12. Murder by Remote Control
  13. Wheels of Death
  14. The Sealed Room
  15. The Shadow's Net Closes


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Cline, William C. "2. In Search of Ammunition". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 13. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 
  2. ^ Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut. "8. The Detectives "Gangbusters!"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 197–198. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9. 
  3. ^ Cline, William C. "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 226. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Overland with Kit Carson (1939)
Columbia Serial
The Shadow (1940)
Succeeded by
Terry and the Pirates (1940)