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A mysterious criminal known as The Whispering Shadow commits crimes by means of a gang he controls by television and radio rays. Jack Norton, whose brother was murdered by The Whispering Shadow, suspects that the eerie Professor Strang - whose ghostly wax museum contains figures far too lifelike - may be involved in the crimes. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
As serials go The Whispering Shadow is acceptable. Produced on a minuscule budget by Mascot Studios, an evil genius known as the Whispering Shadow - for he talks in a low voice and is ubiquitous it seems - is trying to get his hands on the famous jewels of the Czar. he will stop at nothing and his identity is not foreclosed until the final chapter. we are given several men as possible shadows. One is Bela Lugosi in his first serial. Lugosi plays the creator of waxworks out to get the jewels with the aid of his daughter - played by the perky and lovely Viva Tattersall. The leading man is the biggest problem as he has little acting ability. Malcolm McGregor plays jack Foster who is trying to find the Whispering Shadow to avenge his little brother's death. Foster feels guilt as he sent him on an assignment with peril. McGregor has no acting savvy whatsoever and he lunges in fight scenes with all the unbelievable gusto of fake wrestler. That notwithstanding the other actors are mediocre with some exceptions: Lugois makes every role of his interesting. Henry B. Walthall, the silent screen star, adds some credibility. Robert Warwick gives a workmanlike performance as a detective and Roy D'arcy plays an over-the-top radio scientist with glee and relish. The Whispering Shadow isn't as good as other serials of the time. it is undeniably cheap. Cheap special effects. Just get a look in Chapter One at the helicopter crash. How about Chapter 6 which is almost all flashbacks of previous seen footage. I must confess though that I wanted to see who was the Shadow and watched through with little problem. Some of the cheap effects, the shoddy acting, and the cheesy plot twists wormed their way into my heart. Lugosi would go on to several other serials, but this one gives him a primary role with some room to act. Let's face it a serial with death by rays given from a radio or a television cannot be all that bad. Good old-fashioned fun.
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