|Index||3 reviews in total|
Happy Cardigan, chief of a group of oil well drillers, is having his work sabotaged by a group taking orders from a mysterious boss called the voice. Cardigan takes under his wing a young boy, Jimmy Williams, whose father, framed for murder, is on the run from the law as well as a group calling themselves the Vanishing Legion. For 12 chapters its up to Cardigan, Jimmy, his horse Rex to save Jimmy's father from falling into the hands of the agents of the voice, get the oil drilled in time to meet the contract, and discover the agenda for the Vanishing Legion. For 1931, this is a pretty good serial, but a lot of the time the direction is weak, with at times a point-and-shoot format and lots of silent stock footage spliced in. The serial does have its good points, Harry Carey is perfectly cast as the rugged oil driller and does show a lot of nerve with his acting. The "Voice" is a nice gimmick for Mascot and the identity did surprise me. Rating based on serials- 6.
Serials have been a favourite of mine for a long time and discovering
this one was a treat indeed. Nat Levine made some of the best early
talkie serials. With writers like Wyndham Gittens and Ford Beebe (later
to become a director) and directors like B. Reeves "Breezy" Eason I can
see how Mascot Serials were very popular. This one offers western
stalwart Harry Carey as "Happy" Cardigan who is contracted to bring in
an oil well. Happy stands to go broke if he does not deliver the black
gold on time. Meanwhile a gang of sixgun toting badguys called The
Vanishing Legion are out to stop him from bringing in the well at all
costs. They are led by a criminal mastermind known only as The Voice.
He is never seen but his word is law. There are lots of fights, car
chases, wrecks, fires and wild horse stampedes. Can Happy and young
Jimmy (Frankie Darro) bring in the oil before it's too late? What about
the mysterious woman (Edwina Booth) who seems to be on both sides of
the conflict at once? What about young Jimmy's dad who says he was
framed for murder and is being hunted by good guys and crooks alike?
And who is the mysterious Voice?
I can answer that last question, but I won't tell you who the killer is! The voice of The Voice is provided by none other than a pre-stardom Boris Karloff! Boris had made 2 serials for Mascot, KING OF THE KONGO (1929) and KING OF THE WILD (1930). He keeps his sinister commands at a whisper most of the time but in a few chapters his tones and that trademark lisp become quite reconisable to his fans. Boris' contribution to the film is important to the plot but he receives no billing and this film is left off all his filmographies. Finding it is a rare treat.
Produced by Nat Levine, this twelve chapter serial shows all the tricks that made Mascot Pictures so popular. No frills,thread bare sets,sparse dialog but lots of breath taking action.Harry Carey plays Happy Carridan,oil driller whose sabotaged at every turn by a gang called The Vanishing Legion,to keep him from drilling in an oil field. The Legion is led by a mysterious character called "The Voice".He directs the gang and gives orders over a short wave radio.Much of the serial is given to a young Frankie Darro who's Father is unjustly accused of murder.Vanishing Legion, like so many other Mascots has a ragged look,dated even for 1931. Harry Carey portrays Carridan in a happy go lucky fashion well suited for this type of character.Popular star Edwina Booth often goes over the top in her role as the female lead.Bob Kortman snarls his way through his role as the Voice's head henchman..Darro is charming and athletic in a juvenile role. Of course no Mascot would be complete without Rex,the Wonder Horse.The identity of The Voice will surprise many viewers.Carey's future wife Olivia appears in a minor role as a nurse. Except for the opening titles there is no music,the opening theme by Lee Zahler. Typical Mascot serial,aided greatly by the casting of Harry Carey and Frankie Darro.
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