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The Shadow of the Eagle (1932)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 1 February 1932 (USA)
The Eagle uses sky writing to make threats against a corporation. Nathan Gregory owns a traveling fairground and is thought to be the Eagle. Craig McCoy is a pilot who goes looking for the Eagle when Gregory turns up missing.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Craig McCoy
Richard Tucker ...
Major Evans
Pat O'Malley ...
Billy West ...
Bob the Clown
Colonel Nathan Gregory
Lloyd Whitlock ...
'Little Billy' Rhodes ...
The Midget (as Little Billy)
Ivan Linow ...
Henie the Strong Man
James Bradbury Jr. ...
Henry the Ventriloquist


Nathan Gregory is a World War I veteran pilot who runs a small, debt-ridden traveling carnival along with loyal daughter Jean. Gregory is at odds with five of his former squadron comrades, who he thinks shot him down in 1918 and stole his plans for an incredible invention, a radio=piloted plane. An enigmatic criminal, called "The Eagle", and his gang of toughs skywrites threatening the five businessmen with vengeance for their past misdeeds. Although Gregory is suspected of being the arch-villain, especially after he disappears, hero Craig McCoy and the carnival's midget, strongman, and ventriloquist struggle to expose "The Eagle's" identity. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A CRASHING Adventure Serial! (1949 re-release poster)


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 February 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Sombra da Águia  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chapter Titles:
  • 1. The Carnival Mystery

  • 2. Pinholes

  • 3. The Eagle Strikes

  • 4. The Man of a Million Voices

  • 5. The Telephone Cipher

  • 6. Code of the Carnival

  • 7. Eagle or Vulture?

  • 8. On the Spot

  • 9. When Thieves Fall Out

  • 10.The Man Who Knew

  • 11.The Eagle's Wings

  • 12.The Shadow Unmasked

See more »


The long shot of the scene depicting John Wayne as Craig and RoyD'Arcy as Gardener are clearly shot with the men on a merry-go-round, but the closeups of both men are mismatches and none of the bars and struts of the ride can be seen since both actors are clearly on the ground and not moving. See more »


The Midget: Who are you callin little boy, ya big palooka?
See more »


Featured in Action Heroes of the Cliffhanger Serials (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Very low quality early John Wayne serial
16 April 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Others have mentioned the old movie serials. The cover on my Alpha Video DVD claims that "The Shadow of the Eagle" is "The Complete Serial." But one part is missing in the early series, and it ends with episode 11 -- but not the end of the story. So, I have no idea how it comes out.

"The Shadow of the Eagle" is an early John Wayne series. It was a stunt man's show, with lots of action and running about. The Duke's acting is OK and very good in places. We can't say that for most of the rest of the cast – especially not Dorothy Gulliver. She has several close-ups in which she has hammy glares at the camera. Was she still acting for silent films?

The attempt to show sky-writing is pathetic. An airplane in the sky making 90-degree and 180-degree turns in just a few feet? It looked exactly like what it was – a toy model. I'm sure they could have done something to seem a little more real. By 1932, many people would have seen skywriting at daredevil shows, air shows, county fairs and other events held around the country. So, this probably would have looked just as hokey to audiences then, as it does today.

Although the plot was interesting, with just enough intrigue to keep one watching – hoping to see the end, it soon reached the point of tedium. The action scenes were repeated car chases, repeated climbing up and down outside buildings, and repeated breaking into the same offices. John Wayne must have had a permanent concussion from this one – I think he got conked out at least once in each segment.

The segments were of varied lengths. The shortest was less than 10 minutes and a couple early ones were half an hour or more. Each one ran the full credits at the beginning. But there was very little continuity between episodes. They tended to skip some details where the next episode would open somewhere off from where the previous one ended.

This Mascot production clearly shows its poverty row origins. It has very poor writing, editing and other production values; and the film quality relegates this one to the dust bin.

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