The Shadow (serial)
|Directed by||James W. Horne|
|Written by||Joseph O'Donnell
Screenplay, based on the stories created by
Walter B. Gibson
Veda Ann Borg
|Music by||Lee Zahler|
|Cinematography||James S. Brown Jr.|
|Edited by||Dwight Caldwell|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
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's Shadow is faithful to the radio character, especially the radio show's signature: the sinister chuckle of the invisible Shadow as he confronts a villain. Columbia, however, relied on fistfights, chases, and headlong action in its serials, and disliked the prospect of a 15-chapter adventure where the audience wouldn't see much of the heroics, because the leading character was supposed to be invisible. Turning the mysterious Shadow into a flesh-and-blood figure, plainly visible in hat and cloak, Columbia patterned the serial after its wildly successful serial of 1938, The Spider's Web, itself based on a masked hero of popular fiction. The Spider was the respectable Richard Wentworth, who terrorized the underworld as the mysterious Spider and infiltrated gangland under a third identity, small-time crook Blinky McQuade. Columbia copied the triple-role format for The Shadow, with the stalwart Lamont Cranston baffling the enemies of justice as The Shadow (in a Spideresque disguise) and moving among them as Oriental confederate Lin Chang.
- 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."
- 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.
- Roger Moore as Harry Vincent
- Robert Fiske as Stanford Marshall/the Black Tiger
- 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.
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. 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."
- The Doomed City
- The Shadow Attacks
- The Shadow's Peril
- In the Tiger's Lair
- Danger Above
- The Shadow's Trap
- Where Horror Waits
- The Shadow Rides the Rails
- The Devil in White
- The Underground Trap
- Chinatown Night
- Murder by Remote Control
- Wheels of Death
- The Sealed Room
- The Shadow's Net Closes
- Cline, William C. (1984). "2. In Search of Ammunition". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 13. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
- Cline, p. 89
- Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "8. The Detectives "Gangbusters!"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 197–198. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
- Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 226. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
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