Pulp Adventure and Mystery!

The pulps were cheaply printed story magazines, usually focusing on specific genres. Their name was derived from the cheap wood pulp paper used for printing, as opposed to the "slicks," the higher end magazines like Colliers and The Saturday Evening Post. The pulps built many of the conventions of various genres, including mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. This list will focus on films and tv series that follow in the pulp tradition of plot driven stories, with bare bones characterization and a fast pace. Pulp covers a lot of ground, so I will stick with films that are pretty much derived directly from the pulp magazines themselves or are stories inspired by the pulp pioneers. Most will be in the adventure vein, though I'll try to mix things up. I've also included some of the pulp predecessors, from the Victorian Era. I've included serials and other films that drew major inspiration from the pulps, even if they didn't originate there.
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1.
Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman (1905 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
(15 mins.)
“ First Raffles adaptation. AJ Raffles is the prototype Gentleman Thief, a counterpart to Sherlock Holmes. he generally ends up on the side of angels and would influence such later characters as the Saint. ” - grendelkhan
 
2.
The Gentleman Burglar (1908 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
The Proposal: The gentleman burglar walking with his lady love. They admire the grandeur and beauty of nature...
Director: Edwin S. Porter
“ First cinematic Arsene Lupin. Lupin is a thief, whose father was wrongly accused of theft. Arsene seeks revenge on the particulars involved and then continues a spectacular career. His victims usually have it coming and he is often at odds with Josephine Balsamo, heir to the family of the alchemist and con-man Cagliostro. ” - grendelkhan
 
3.
Sexton Blake (1909 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
A detective poses as a cleric to save a squire's daughter from marrying a murderer.
“ Sexton Blake was a British detective, in the model of Sherlock Holmes, who appeared in magazine adventures for several decades. sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock even edited his magazines, in his younger days. ” - grendelkhan
 
4.
Fantômas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine (1913)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Inspector Juve is tasked to investigate and capture an infamous criminal Fantomas. (54 mins.)
Director: Louis Feuillade
“ Serial adaptation of the French pulp villain. Fantomas is a supercriminal who brings death and destruction in his wake, while pursued by journalist Fandor and Inspector Juve. The start of a long cinematic association with Fantomas. ” - grendelkhan
 
5.
Les vampires (1915)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An intrepid reporter and his loyal friend battle a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires. (421 mins.)
Director: Louis Feuillade
“ Legendary serial about Irma Vep (shuffle the name around a bit and you'll see) and the Vampires, a gang of criminals. Musidora is Irma Vep, the heroine of the story, appearing in a rather shocking (for the time) leotard. There are twists and turns galore. ” - grendelkhan
 
6.
Arsene Lupin (1916)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
An inspector tries to catch a gentleman thief.
“ Early silent film about the gentleman thief from the French pulp stories. Lupin's father is framed for a crime and the son takes up crime to strike back at society, though he is more of an anti-hero, targeting the corrupt. ” - grendelkhan
 
7.
Judex (1916)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A twelve part serial following the adventures of the masked vigilante Judex as he fights against criminals led by the corrupt banker Favrauxom. (300 mins.)
Director: Louis Feuillade
“ Inspired by French pulp literature. This serial features a cloaked avenger who seeks revenge of the corrupt banker who destroyed his family. It owes much to Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo, and predates The Shadow. ” - grendelkhan
 
8.
Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman (1917)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Gentleman burglar Raffles tries to get his hand on a priceless pearl. (70 mins.)
Director: George Irving
“ John Barrymore stars as the English gentleman thief. ” - grendelkhan
 
9.
Tarzan of the Apes (1918)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
The plot follows the novel more closely than does any other Tarzan movie. John and Alice Clayton take ship for Africa... (73 mins.)
Director: Scott Sidney
“ Tarzan was one of the first pulp heroes to make it to the screen, played by Elmo Lincoln. Burroughs was one of the masters of pulp adventure, with multiple Tarzans, John Carter of Mars, Carson of Venus, David Innes in Pellucidar, and other tales. I may point out some other Tarzan films along the way, but will skip the bulk. ” - grendelkhan
 
10.
The Mark of Zorro (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A seemingly idiotic fop is really the courageous vigilante Zorro, who seeks to protect the oppressed. (107 mins.)
Director: Fred Niblo
“ The first Zorro film, with Douglas Fairbanks. It departed greatly from the Johnston McCulley novel, but became the template for future Zorros. ” - grendelkhan
 
11.
Fantomas (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Fantomas, a master criminal, offers to give up his life of crime if the authorities promise not to prosecute him for his past crimes...
Director: Edward Sedgwick
“ American serial with Fantomas, though he bears little resemblance to the French character. He goes up against an American detective, Fred Dixon. It was called Diablos in France, to distance it from the original. ” - grendelkhan
 
12.
The Sheik (1921)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A charming Arabian sheik becomes infatuated with an adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman and abducts her to his home in the Saharan desert. (86 mins.)
Director: George Melford
“ Silent film with Rudolph Valentino. It drew heavily from pulp tales of romantic desert warriors. ” - grendelkhan
 
13.
Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him. (242 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ Fritz Lang's first Mabuse film is a serial, focusing on the criminal genius and hypnotist. The film documents the corruption of the Weimar era, which would ultimately give way to the Nazis. Mabuse never acts directly, always working through a network of agents and cutouts. He was inspired by Prof. Moriarty, but the German character would go on to inspire other characters, like Keyser Soze, in the Usual Suspects. ” - grendelkhan
 
14.
The Lost World (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novel about a land where prehistoric creatures still roam. (106 mins.)
Director: Harry O. Hoyt
“ Based on the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring Professor Challenger and the discovery of a hidden land with dinosaurs. The effects are crude but effective, for the period. ” - grendelkhan
 
15.
“ Based on the novel of the same name, about a mysterious phantom that haunts the Louvre. The ghost turns out to be a criminal. Features Renee Navarre, of Fantomas fame. ” - grendelkhan
 
16.
The Bat Whispers (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A master criminal terrorizes the occupants of an isolated country mansion. (83 mins.)
Director: Roland West
“ Early mystery film, based on the pulpy novel. It would influence everything from the Shadow to Batman. ” - grendelkhan
 
17.
Raffles (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A distinguished English gentleman has a secret life--he is the notorious jewel thief the press has dubbed "The Amateur Cracksman"... (72 mins.)
“ Ronald Coleman stars as the English gentleman thief in this memorable film. ” - grendelkhan
 
18.
The Maltese Falcon (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A lovely dame with dangerous lies employs the services of a private detective, who is quickly caught up in the mystery and intrigue of a statuette known as the Maltese Falcon. (80 mins.)
Director: Roy Del Ruth
“ The Maltese Falcon was originally serialized in Black Mask, the detective pulp. This film follows the book relatively closely; but, unlike the more famous version, it was produced before the Hayes Code. As such, there are some more suggestive elements, such as the strip search of a woman, a woman appearing in a bath tub, and homosexual innuendo. Sam Spade is the definitive hard-boiled detective. ” - grendelkhan
 
19.
Trader Horn (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Two white traders in the darkest Africa of the 1870s find a missionary's daughter, who was captured as a child by a savage tribe and now worshiped as a goddess. (122 mins.)
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
“ One of the seminal jungle films which would influence everything from King Solomon's Mines, to Tarzan and Indiana Jones. ” - grendelkhan
 
20.
A Burglar to the Rescue (1931 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The story is about a bank president who has been stealing from the bank. One night, as he is working... (18 mins.)
Director: George Cochrane
“ The first of 6 shorts, featuring The Shadow, using radio voice Frank Readick. ” - grendelkhan
 
21.
The Mummy (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A living mummy stalks the beautiful woman he believes is the reincarnation of his lover. (73 mins.)
Director: Karl Freund
“ Boris Karloff stars as the mummy Imhotep, in this horror classic. The story is straight out of Weird Tales, stylistically. ” - grendelkhan
 
22.
The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan before the sinister Fu Manchu does. (68 mins.)
Director: Charles Brabin
“ The evil doctor from the Sax Rhomer stories, played by Boris Karloff. Fu Manchu was a Yellow Peril fable and the stories are deeply racist, but would influence many of the great villains to come. ” - grendelkhan
 
23.
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A trader and his daughter set off in search of the fabled graveyard of the elephants in deepest Africa, only to encounter a wild man raised by apes. (100 mins.)
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
“ First of the Johnny Weismuller series, which launched the "Me Tarzan, you Jane," cliché. The literary Tarzan spoke perfect English. This, alongside the newspaper strip, did more to shape Tarzan in the eyes of the general public. ” - grendelkhan
 
24.
Fantômas (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
The Marquise de Langrune invites her friends at her castle in Beaulieu. Among them is Lord Beltham who... (91 mins.)
Director: Paul Fejos
“ Fantomas talkie, from France. ” - grendelkhan
 
25.
Arsène Lupin (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A charming and very daring thief known as Arsene Lupin is terrorizing the wealthy of Paris, he even goes so far as to threaten the Mona Lisa... (84 mins.)
Director: Jack Conway
“ John Barrymore would star in this version of the French thief. ” - grendelkhan
 
26.
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A new crime wave grips the city and all clues seem to lead to the nefarious Dr. Mabuse, even though he has been imprisoned in a mental asylum for nearly a decade. (122 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ Fritz Lang returns to the criminal genius in this film. Mabuse is believed dead, but the writings of a madman in an asylum suggests differently. This was Lang's last German film, before fleeing the country. It also features Inspektor Lohman, from Lang's film M, played by the same actor. Lohman would also turn up as Mabuse's adversary in the 60s Mabuse films. ” - grendelkhan
 
27.
Tarzan the Fearless (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
In the African Jungle, a group of Europeans come across the fabled white man who was raised by apes... (200 mins.)
Director: Robert Hill
“ Buster Crabbe takes on the role of Tarzan, in this serial version. Burroughs was less than happy, though. ” - grendelkhan
 
28.
King Kong (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal giant gorilla who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition. (100 mins.)
“ The classic tale of an expedition to find a living monster and bring it back as an attraction. This had everything the pulps did well, plus a lot of heart. It also has the dubious distinction of being Adolf Hitler's favorite film. ” - grendelkhan
 
29.
Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The idyllic life of Tarzan and Jane is challenged by men on safari who come seeking ivory, and come seeking Jane as well. (104 mins.)
Director: Cedric Gibbons
“ The second outing for Weismuller, featuring some pre-code skinny dipping, which was edited out of later reruns at the theater and on tv. ” - grendelkhan
 
30.
The Lost Jungle (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.0/10 X  
Animal trainer Clyde Beatty heads a rescue party in search of his girl, Ruth, and her father who get lost looking for an uncharted island... (243 mins.)
“ Clyde Beatty stars in this tale of hidden jungle cities. ” - grendelkhan
 
31.
The Phantom Empire (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When the ancient continent of Mu sank beneath the ocean, some of its inhabitant survived in caverns beneath the sea... (245 mins.)
“ Cowboys and underground civilizations clash in this serial from mascot. Gene Autrey is the singing hero, who is caught between marauders from Murania and greedy radium-seekers. ” - grendelkhan
 
32.
The Lost City (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
An evil scientist plots to take over the world from his base in Africa, where he has invented a machine that can cause earthquakes. (240 mins.)
Director: Harry Revier
“ Jungle tale of explorers and a hidden city, featuring Clyde Beatty. ” - grendelkhan
 
33.
She (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Leo Vincey, told by his dying uncle of a lost land visited 500 years ago by his ancestor, heads out... (101 mins.)
“ First adaptation of H Rider Haggard, which drew elements from several of the Ayesha novels. Haggard was a huge influence on the pulp writers, along with Kipling, Poe, Talbot Mundy, Stevenson, and several others of the Victorian Age. ” - grendelkhan
 
34.
The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
The Green Goddess is a totem worshiped by the primitive natives of a lost city deep in the jungles of Guatemala... (257 mins.)
Director: Edward A. Kull
“ Herman Brix stars as Tarzan, with Burroughs involvement. ” - grendelkhan
 
35.
Undersea Kingdom (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
Crash Corrigan, a recent graduate of Annapolis, and Diana, a go-getting reporter, join Professor Norton... (226 mins.)
“ Republic's answer to Flash Gordon, though on a smaller scale. it has more exciting stunts, but a cheaper look and worse acting, though plenty of beefcake. ” - grendelkhan
 
36.
The Bold Caballero (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
The Commandant is making life rough for the colonials in Spanish California. While trying to help, Zorro is charged with the murder of the new Governor, but in the end he triumphs over the evil Commandant. (67 mins.)
Director: Wells Root
“ Early Zorro talkie, though not quite as exciting as the Mark of Zorro. ” - grendelkhan
 
37.
Darkest Africa (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A 15-episode serial in which Beatty goes to darkest Africa to rescue the Goddess of Joba, who is being held by the high priest. (269 mins.)
“ Animal trainer Clyde Beatty stars in this jungle adventure of hidden cities. Sequel, of sorts, to the Lost City. ” - grendelkhan
 
38.
Flash Gordon (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Alexis Zarkov visit the planet Mongo to thwart the evil schemes of Emperor Ming the Merciless, who has set his planet on a collision course with Earth. (245 mins.)
“ Flash Gordon started life as a comic strip, but it was heavily influenced by sci-fi and fantasy pulp stories of the time, including ER Burrough's John Carter stories. The serial had a feature budget and it shows on screen, though some of the acting could have used a boost. Exciting, and occasionally campy, stuff. ” - grendelkhan
 
39.
King Solomon's Mines (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
White hunter Allan Quartermain and his enigmatic guide help a young Irish woman locate her missing father in unexplored Darkest Africa. (77 mins.)
“ First adaptation of the H Rider Haggard novel. The hero, Allan Quatermain, was a big influence on Indiana Jones. ” - grendelkhan
 
40.
Jungle Menace (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
In the Asian province of Seemang where the Bay of Bengal meets the jungle, Chandler Elliott (John St. Polis)... (308 mins.)
“ This was Columbia's answer to Republic's Clyde Beatty serials. This one stars Frank Buck (Bring 'em Back Alive) as the hero, a soldier of fortune who helps the owner of a rubber plantation. The cast was a little more top drawer than Republic's efforts. ” - grendelkhan
 
41.
The Shadow Strikes (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
Lamont Cranston assumes his secret identity as "The Shadow", to break up an attempted robbery at an attorney's office... (61 mins.)
Director: Lynn Shores
“ Early Shadow mystery film, starring Rod Laroque. These were more sedate than the pulps or the radio show. Lamont Cranston is more detective than pulp hero, here. ” - grendelkhan
 
42.
Arsene Lupin, Detective (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
(98 mins.)
“ French Lupin talkie. ” - grendelkhan
 
43.
Doctor Syn (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
When customs and excise men arrive at the village of Dymchurch in Kent, they uncover an intricate smuggling... (78 mins.)
“ Early adaptation of the novels about a country vicar who secretly leads a band of smugglers and pirates. It was more famously adapted by Disney. ” - grendelkhan
 
44.
Lost Horizon (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A plane crash delivers a group of people to the secluded land of Shangri-La - but is it the miraculous utopia it appears to be? (97 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ Based on the James Hilton novel, this features Ronald Coleman. A group of people find themselves shanghaied in an airplane and set down near the fabled city of Shangri-La. There, no one grows old and they have conquered disease. However, there is a catch. The novel and the film inspired many a pulp and comic book hero, with its Tibetan utopia. The novel was a favorite of FDR, who when asked where the Doolittle Raiders had struck from, he joked, "From our base in Shangri-La!" which led to the USS Hornet being dubbed the Shangri-La. ” - grendelkhan
 
45.
International Crime (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Lamont Cranston (Rod La Rocque), amateur criminologist and detective, with a daily radio program, sponsored by the Daily Classic newspaper... (62 mins.)
Director: Charles Lamont
“ Sequel to The Shadow Strikes, with even less to do with the pulp and radio hero. ” - grendelkhan
 
46.
The Spider's Web (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A crime fighter known as The Spider battles a villain called The Octopus, who is out to sabotage America and install his own government. (300 mins.)
“ This movie serial adapted the pulp hero, The Spider. The pulp character wore a suit, cloak, and fright mask. This version has the suit and cloak, but has a mask/hood with web outlines, topped by a fedora. Stan Lee has said that Spider-Man was inspired (name wise) by the Spider, and the masks certainly parallel one another. The serial did well enough to spawm a sequel. The Spider was one of the most violent of the pulp heroes. Writer Norvell Paige contributed to the script of the serial. ” - grendelkhan
 
47.
Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
When a deadly Nitron ray strikes Earth, Flash Gordon and his friends travel to Mars to battle Ming the Merciless and his new ally Queen Azura. (299 mins.)
“ Sequel Flash Gordon serial, with Ming interfering on Mars. Flash to the rescue! Excellent follow up that may be better than the first. ” - grendelkhan
 
48.
Zorro's Fighting Legion (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The masked hero leads a fighting force to fight a villian who plots the conquest of The Republic of Mexico. (212 mins.)
“ Zorro fights to stop a group of men from stirring up trouble in the territories of the young nation of Mexico. the villains are using the ficticious Don Del Oro to stir up the Yaqqi's. Zorro leads a band of masked men who work to bring peace. ” - grendelkhan
 
49.
Buck Rogers (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A pilot and his young passenger crash-land on a mountaintop and are put into suspended animation by a strange gas... (237 mins.)
“ Buck Rogers began life as a story in a sci-fi pulp, which spawned a comic strip, which spawned this excellent serial. buster Crabbe is the hero. ” - grendelkhan
 
50.
Gunga Din (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In 19th century India, three British soldiers and a native waterbearer must stop a secret mass revival of the murderous Thuggee cult before it can rampage across the land. (117 mins.)
Director: George Stevens
“ It takes its inspiration from the Kipling poem, but the story is straight out of Talbot Mundy. British soldiers clash with the murderous Thugee cult. It inspired Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. ” - grendelkhan
 
51.
Raffles (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Man about town and First Class cricketer A.J. Raffles keeps himself solvent with daring robberies. Meeting... (72 mins.)
Director: Sam Wood
“ David Niven gets his chance at the gentleman thief. niven would later get to play a similar role, and Sir Charle Lytton, the Phantom, in the original Pink Panther. ” - grendelkhan
 
52.
The Mark of Zorro (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young aristocrat must masquerade as a fop in order to maintain his secret identity of Zorro as he restores justice to early California. (94 mins.)
“ The greatest of all the Zorro films, starring Tyrone Power as the hero and Basil Rathbone as the villainous Capitan Esteban. Great stuff, with one of the best duels in filmdom. Rathbone knew his fencing and Power was no slouch either. ” - grendelkhan
 
53.
The Shadow (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The Shadow battles a villain known as The Black Tiger, who has the power to make himself invisible and is trying to take over the world with his death ray. (285 mins.)
Director: James W. Horne
“ Serial version of the pulp avenger. The serials had restrictions on them, so they weren't as violent as the pulps, with more fistfights than gunshots. The Shadow was one of the more violent, though nowhere near as wild and violent as The Spider. The Shadow's creator, Walter Gibson (under the house name Maxwell Grant) also ghostwrote Harry Blackstone's books and also was an authority on stage magic, including Houdini's tricks. ” - grendelkhan
 
54.
Drums of Fu Manchu (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu searches for the keys to the tomb of Genghis Khan, in order to fulfill a... (269 mins.)
“ Republic serial, based on the evil doctor. The gang is all here, plus a new American hero. Exciting stuff from top serial director William Witney. ” - grendelkhan
 
55.
Mysterious Doctor Satan (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A mad scientist plots the domination of America and only the masked hero, The Copperhead, can stop him. (267 mins.)
“ This Republic serial featured a hero known as The Copperhead. The hero wears a suit and a chain mail hood. The serial was originally written for Superman, but National/DC passed and took the Man of Steel to Columbia. Republic retooled it for their own hero, though he is just a mortal. The serial has a few cheats in the cliffhangers, but is very exciting. ” - grendelkhan
 
56.
The Green Hornet (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A newspaper publisher and his Korean servant fight crime as vigilantes who pose as a notorious masked gangster and his aide. (258 mins.)
“ The Green Hornet debuted on radio (as did the Shadow); however, his adventures shared the same attributes as The Shadow, Doc Savage and other pulp heroes. So, in my book, he counts. The serial features the Hornet and Kato (Chalie Chan's No. 1 Son and Blind Master Po on Kung-Fu) would fight a separate criminal in each installment, defeating the whole criminal empire by the end, in a departure from most serials. Thus, it was more like a prototype of a tv series, or more in tune with the radio format. ” - grendelkhan
 
57.
The Green Archer (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The struggle over the Bellamy estate ends with Michael Bellamy accused of murder and killed on the way to prison, while his brother, Abel Bellamy, takes control of the estate for his own nefarious plans. (285 mins.)
Director: James W. Horne
“ Serial based on the Edgar Wallace novel, about a man masquerading as a ghost to gain revenge of the person who tried to have him killed. It inspired the comic hero Green Arrow, as much as Robin Hood, as well as the Centaur Comics hero, the Arrow. ” - grendelkhan
 
58.
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov return to the planet Mongo for an antidote to the Purple Death, which wreaking destruction on Earth. However, Ming the Merciless has other plans for them. (220 mins.)
“ Buster Crabbe's last outing, which would inspire Hoth and the Star Wars title crawls. ” - grendelkhan
 
59.
The Green Hornet Strikes Again! (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A wealthy publisher uses a disguise and calls himself the Green Hornet to fight crime in his city. (293 mins.)
“ The gang was back for more, though the lead was recast. It followed the same structure as the first, with a stand-alone adventure in each episode, which would lead to the ultimate defeat of the criminal boss in the finale. The Hornet's gas gun was a Mauser with CO2 cartridges added in front of the magazine well, giving it a unique look for the serials. ” - grendelkhan
 
60.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
“ The classic version of the Dashiell Hammett story. Bogey is the quintessential tough guy and set the pattern for every private eye to follow. John Huston's script and direction are brilliant. ” - grendelkhan
 
61.
Jungle Girl (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Dr. John Meredith has been driven from civilization by the criminal activities of his twin brother Bradley Meredith... (267 mins.)
“ Francis Gifford stars as Nyoka Jones, a white heroine in the African jungle, who tries to protect diamond mines from unscrupulous outsiders. The story was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, though the serial departs heavily from the source. ” - grendelkhan
 
62.
Captain Midnight (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Secret Service Major Steel (Joseph W. Girard), is one of the few men in America aware of the fact that... (270 mins.)
Director: James W. Horne
“ Captain Midnight first appeared on radio, but his adventures recalled those of pulp aviators, like G-8. The serial suffers a bit, in terms of the aviation thrills, as it couldn't really do actual aerial stunts, given the budget. ” - grendelkhan
 
63.
Perils of Nyoka (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
It's intrepid Nyoka and her friends versus Vultura, Queen of the Desert, on a quest for the Golden Tablets of Hippocrates. (261 mins.)
Director: William Witney
“ Sequel to the Jungle Girl, with Kay Aldridge as Nyoka, facing a villainess from a desert kingdom, as she searches for the lost healing Tablets of Hippocrates. Plenty of cliffhangers and action. ” - grendelkhan
 
64.
Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Tarzan and Jane go to New York to rescue Boy after he is kidnapped into a circus. (71 mins.)
Director: Richard Thorpe
“ The gang comes to the urban jungle, in a nice departure for the Weismuller series. ” - grendelkhan
 
65.
The Masked Marvel (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A superhero called The Masked Marvel battles Japanese saboteurs intent on blowing up America. (197 mins.)
“ Tom Steele appears under the mask of this tremendously pulpy serial hero. The conceit is that one of 5 men, working for an insurance company, is secretly the Masked Marvel. They work to stop a band of saboteurs, with exciting stunts and cliffhangers. ” - grendelkhan
 
66.
The Phantom (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Professor Davidson (Frank Shannon) and his daughter Diana (Jeanne Bates) search Africa for the Lost City of Zoloz... (299 mins.)
Director: B. Reeves Eason
“ The Phantom was born in a comic strip, but his adventures were pure pulp, mixing jungle adventure and masked heroes. The serial finds The Ghost Who Walks murdered in the first episode, so that his son must take over and defeat a band of criminals. The pacing is very good and it is one of Columbia's best. Tom Tyler, who also played Captain Marvel, is the hero and looks the part. Devil is a German sherpherd, rather than a wolf. ” - grendelkhan
 
67.
Secret Service in Darkest Africa (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An American secret agent travels to Africa to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring. (243 mins.)
Director: Spencer Bennet
“ Rex Bennett, the hero from G-Men vs the Black Dragon, is back. This time, he has infiltrated the SS and is working to stop a Nazi effort to bring Arab tribes into revolt in North Africa. Furniture and fists fly in this one. Rex Bennett could have been a great pulp hero. ” - grendelkhan
 
68.
G-Men vs. The Black Dragon (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
American, British and Chinese secret agents battle the Japanese Black Dragon Society, a secretive ring that smuggles enemy agents into the U.S. disguised as mummies. (243 mins.)
“ Here, we have a group of government agents (from the US, UK, and China) fighting a Japanese sabotage ring, the Black Dragon Society. The serial is chocked full of fights and stunts and exciting cliffhangers. The female lead, in a rare occurrence, gets to use a Tommy Gun, rescuing one of the men. She still ends up tied to death traps, but even Lois Lane didn't get to save Superman, in the serials. ” - grendelkhan
 
69.
Enter Arsene Lupin (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A rich but naive young woman is in possession of some priceless jewels. She doesn't realize it, but a gang of jewel thieves does. (72 mins.)
Director: Ford Beebe
“ American film, directed by Ford beebe. ” - grendelkhan
 
70.
The Shadow Returns (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
People are literally flying off balconies to their deaths as Lamont Cranston, aka the Shadow, tries to make sense out of a confusing jumble of murders... (61 mins.)
Director: Phil Rosen
“ First of three films with Kane Richmond (Spy Smasher) as the hero. ” - grendelkhan
 
71.
The Big Sleep (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. (114 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
“ Humphrey Bogart now takes on Raymond Chandler, starring as his detective, Phillip Marlowe. The script is by William Falkner and Leigh Brackett, though it is a bit confused (so is the novel). One character thread is completely lost. The film would later inspire the basic plot of The Big Lebowski. The novel, itself, was created by combining elements from two previous Chandler stories from Black Mask: The Killer in the Rain and The Curtain. ” - grendelkhan
 
72.
Fantômas (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
(95 mins.)
Director: Jean Sacha
“ Another French Fantomas film, considered a lesser effort. ” - grendelkhan
 
73.
Mighty Joe Young (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A young woman who has raised a giant gorilla from an infant brings him to Hollywood years later seeking her fortune in order to save her family's ranch. (94 mins.)
“ This jungle tale draws much inspiration from King Kong. ” - grendelkhan
 
74.
Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
An aviatrix emerges from the jungle looking as young as she was when her plane went down many years before... (73 mins.)
Director: Lee Sholem
“ First of Lex Barker's Tarzan films. Barker wanted to change the tone of the character but was told to follow Weismuller's lead. ” - grendelkhan
 
75.
King Solomon's Mines (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Adventurer Allan Quartermain leads an expedition into uncharted African territory in an attempt to locate an explorer who went missing during his search for the fabled diamond mines of King Solomon. (103 mins.)
“ Stewart Granger stars in the best known version of the Haggard story, though not the best version of that story. He aids Deborah Kerr as she hunts for her missing father. There is some great scenery and many of the visuals inspired elements of the Indiana Jones films. ” - grendelkhan
 
76.
Tarzan's Peril (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Escaped convicts are selling weapons to a warlike native tribe. (78 mins.)
Director: Byron Haskin
“ One of the better of Lex Barker's films, shot partially in Kenya. ” - grendelkhan
 
77.
King of the Khyber Rifles (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A half-caste British officer in 19th-century India battles the prejudices of both his Army colleagues and the local populace while trying to help put down a rebellion led by a greedy local ruler. (100 mins.)
Director: Henry King
“ Based on the novel by Talbot Mundy. Mundy was the master of the adventure story, with his hero Jimgrim, as well as his tales of the Nine, of Theosophy. This is his most noted work, though Jimgrim would influence Robert E Howard's El Borak and Indiana Jones. ” - grendelkhan
 
78.
Secret of the Incas (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An adventurer searchers for hidden treasure in the Peruvian jungles. (100 mins.)
Director: Jerry Hopper
“ Charlton Heston stars as a treasure hunter/adventurer. Definitely an inspiration for Indiana Jones. ” - grendelkhan
 
79.
Flash Gordon (1954 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Space hero Flash Gordon and his crew of the Galaxy Bureau of Investigation patrol space, battling space monsters, power-mad alien dictators and other threats to the stability of the universe. (30 mins.)
Director: Joseph Zigman
“ Early tv version of Flash that featured shots of the devastated post-war Berlin. Star Steve Holland would act as the model for James Bama's covers for the Bantam Books reprints of Doc Savage. ” - grendelkhan
 
80.
Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Hunters trespass into Sukulu country, where animals are sacred, posing as photographers. Their work has the blessing of the U.N.'s Dr... (72 mins.)
Director: Harold Schuster
“ Gordon Scott takes over as Tarzan, with more location shooting adding scope to the films. ” - grendelkhan
 
81.
The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu (1956 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Dr. Fu Manchu, evil genius and possessor of seemingly unlimited financial resources, has pledged to... (30 mins.)
“ TV series with the evil doctor. Don't really know much about it, though it couldn't have come close to the novels or the movies, with tv restrictions. ” - grendelkhan
 
82.
The Adventures of Arsène Lupin (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Arsène Lupin, the multifaceted gentleman thief, steals two masterpieces from the President of the Council... (104 mins.)
Director: Jacques Becker
“ French film which brought the character back to prominence. ” - grendelkhan
 
83.
Zorro (1957 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Don Diego de la Vega opposes the corrupt tyrants of Spanish California as the masked swordsman, Zorro. (30 mins.)
“ Guy Williams stars in the Disney tv series. The swordplay was played down in favor of weekly intrigues. The series was a huge hit amongst young baby boomers and would live on for decades. ” - grendelkhan
 
84.
Arsène Lupin (1957 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
“ Notable French tv series, based on the novels. ” - grendelkhan
 
85.
The Invisible Avenger (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Lamont Cranston, aka The Shadow, investigates the murder of a New Orleans bandleader. (60 mins.)
“ TV pilot for The Shadow. Supposed to be so-so. ” - grendelkhan
 
86.
The Sign of Zorro (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In this film, edited from eight episodes of Disney's hit TV series, Don Diego returns home to find his town under the heel of a cruel dictator... (91 mins.)
“ Disney feature version of Zorro, composed of edited episodes, much like Dr Syn, Alias the Scarecrow (from The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh). ” - grendelkhan
 
87.
Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.0/10 X  
This movie has little connection with the 1932 original. It does, however, have lifted footage (tinted to more-or-less match the color)... (82 mins.)
Director: Joseph Newman
“ Denny Miller starred in this rather poor Tarzan. miller would spoof himself later, in an episode of Gilligan's Island. ” - grendelkhan
 
88.
Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Four British villains raid a settlement to obtain explosives for use in a diamond mine. In doing so they nearly destroy the settlement, so and Tarzan pursues them to their mine. (88 mins.)
Director: John Guillermin
“ Gordon Scott film, with Anthony Quayle and young Sean Connery as villains. ” - grendelkhan
 
89.
Tarzan the Magnificent (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Tarzan must escort his prisoner Coy Banton out of the jungle to the authorities. The boat is blown up by Coy's father and brothers... (82 mins.)
Director: Robert Day
“ Tarzan must escort a treacherous bank robber to jail, with plenty of action along the way. Jock Mahoney is the bank robber and he would take over the franchise in the next film. ” - grendelkhan
 
90.
The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
During the 1960s Germany, criminal mastermind Dr. Mabuse is using hypnotized victims and the surveillance equipment of a Nazi-era bugged hotel to steal nuclear technology from a visiting American industrialist. (103 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ Fritz Lang returned to Germany and the super-criminal with this film. Mabuse is believed dead, but there are signs that the master mind is alive and well. A police inspector hunts him, with aid from a mystic. Meanwhile, Mabuse tries to manipulate a woman into suicide, only to be rescued by an American industrialist, while staying in a hotel which Mabuse controls. the Hotel was built by the Nazis to spy on diplomats and featurs surveillance cameras throughout. great stuff from the master. It was followed by a series of cheaper Mabuse films. ” - grendelkhan
 
91.
The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Evil mastermind Dr. Mabuse is using brainwashed prison inmates to commit crimes but the German police aided by an FBI agent is on his trail. (89 mins.)
Director: Harald Reinl
“ Gert Frobe and Wolfgang Preiss are back, along with Lex Barker as an American agent. Dali Lavi is the love interest for Barker. Frobe is Inspektor Lohman, a character from the original Lang Testament of Dr Mabuse. ” - grendelkhan
 
92.
Tarzan Goes to India (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Summoned by an Indian princess, Tarzan travels to India where hundreds of wild elephants are in danger... (88 mins.)
Director: John Guillermin
“ Jock Mahoney's debut as Tarzan, featuring the first appearance of Jai. ” - grendelkhan
 
93.
The Terror of Doctor Mabuse (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
(1962 aka TERROR OF THE MAD DOCTOR) Gerte Frobe, Wolfgang Preiss, Senta Berger. A well done remake of Lang's 1933 classic... (88 mins.)
Director: Werner Klingler
“ Remake of the Fritz Lang film, with the same title (Testament of Dr Mabuse). Gert Frobe, who appeared in Lang's 1000 Eye of Dr Mabuse, plays Inspektor Lohman, who hunts Mabuse. Senta Berger would also appear as the girlfriend of an ex-boxer who is blackmailed into helping Mabuse. Wolfgang Preiss returns as Mabuse. ” - grendelkhan
 
94.
The Invisible Dr. Mabuse (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Evil mastermind Dr. Mabuse seeks Professor Erasmus' secret invention, a device that makes one invisible, but a murder in a revue theatre brings the German police and the FBI into the mix. (89 mins.)
Director: Harald Reinl
“ Mabuse has stolen an invisibility ray and is using it to drive an actress (Karin Dor) mad. Not as good as previous entries, but still entertaining enough. The formula is starting to wear thin, though. ” - grendelkhan
 
95.
Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
The spiritual leader of an oriental country is dying. The leader's evil brother Khan is plotting to prevent Kashi... (92 mins.)
Director: Robert Day
“ Jock Mahoney squares off against Woody Strode in this excellent Tarzan installment. Mahoney contracted dysentery and lost considerable weight, which hampers him on screen. ” - grendelkhan
 
96.
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1954 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Dr. Syn, a country priest leads a rebel band against the King's naval press gangs. Press gangs (impressment)... (120 mins.)
“ Disney adapted the Dr Synn stories in this 3-part series. Patrick McGoohan is the vicar and smuggler, with George Cole as his number two. Exciting stuff. Disney later edited the segments into a feature film. ” - grendelkhan
 
97.
Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In 18th century England, the mysterious masked rider known as the Scarecrow leads a rebel band to save the town of Romney Marsh from the King's oppression and Naval press gangs. (98 mins.)
Director: James Neilson
“ Feature version of The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. ” - grendelkhan
 
98.
Dr. Mabuse vs. Scotland Yard (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
The spirit of the evil Dr. Mabuse takes over the body of a famous professor. The professor/Dr. Mabuse then begins a new crime wave that terrorizes the city. (90 mins.)
Director: Paul May
“ Peter Van Eyck returns to the Mabuse series, having last appeared in Lang's 1000 Eyes of Dr Mabuse. The plot is actually adapted from an Edgar Wallace novel. ” - grendelkhan
 
99.
Judex (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Favraux, an unscrupulous banker, receives a threatening note, signed by "Judex", demanding that he pay back the people he has swindled... (98 mins.)
Director: Georges Franju
“ Remake of the French silent serial, starring a magician-turned-actor. It's bizarre, that's for certain. Kind of lacks the spark of the serial, not to mention it's rather slow. More of an art-house pulp. ” - grendelkhan
 
100.
Fantomas (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Criminal mastermind Fantômas, a man of a thousand faces, is unhappy with Fandor, a journalist whose written a fictive interview of him... (100 mins.)
“ Much superior Fantomas film, with Jean Marais in the dual role of Fantomas and the reporter Fandor. Louis Funes is the hapless Inspector Juve, who could give lessons to Clouseau. Lots of fun, with elements of the hit James Bond series, including a flying Citroen car. The mask is rather creepy, to boot! ” - grendelkhan