23 user 13 critic

The Phantom Empire (1935)

Approved | | Musical, Sci-Fi, Western | 23 February 1935 (USA)
When the ancient continent of Mu sank beneath the ocean, some of its inhabitant survived in caverns beneath the sea. Cowboy singer Gene Autry stumbles upon the civilization, now buried ... See full summary »


, (as Breezy Easton)


(story), (story) | 3 more credits »

On Disc

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Complete credited cast:
Prof. Beetson (as Frank Glendon)
Oscar (as Lester 'Smiley' Burnett)
Peter Potter ...
Pete (as William Moore)
Cooper (as Edward Piel Sr.)
Jack Carlyle ...


When the ancient continent of Mu sank beneath the ocean, some of its inhabitant survived in caverns beneath the sea. Cowboy singer Gene Autry stumbles upon the civilization, now buried beneath his own Radio Ranch. The Muranians have developed technology and weaponry such as television and ray guns. Their rich supply of radium draws unscrupulous speculators from the surface. The peaceful civilization of the Muranians is corrupted by the greed from above, and it becomes Autry's task to prevent all-out war, ideally without disrupting his regular radio show. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Nation 20,000 Feet Underground


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 February 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gene Autry and the Phantom Empire  »

Box Office


$70,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The city of Murania was built for less than $1200 including utilizing a colander as the dome of a building. See more »


Queen Tika: Gene Autry! How do you like our world?
Gene Autry: I think the dampness and dead air of your land is more suited for rats and moles.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening Credit: Featuring the Scientific City of Murania. See more »


Referenced in Golden Saddles, Silver Spurs (2000) See more »


Uncle Noah's Ark
Written by Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette and Nick Manoloff
Performed by Gene Autry and band
See more »

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User Reviews

the most interesting plot ever
20 February 2002 | by (Long Beach, California) – See all my reviews

This movie would be a classic of its type, if there were anything else in its type. The ostensibly peaceful underground kingdom of Murania actually exists on the slave labor of robots, who are planning a revolt. Periodically, the Muranians dress as "Thunder Riders" and after rocketing to the surface, come out of a cave to terrorize the Surface People (us). But they can't terrorize a gang of kids known as the "Junior Thunder Riders", whose motto is "To the Rescue!" They shout this while wearing buckets on their heads, in imitation of the gas masks of the Muranians. Mendacious scientists have detected radium beneath the surface of Gene Autry's ranch, but they don't know that the radium is coming from an underground kingdom. The scientists keep kidnapping Gene so that he won't make it to his weekly radio show and hence won't get the paycheck that he depends on to make his mortgage payment. The mortgage payment is the engine that actually keeps all these balls in the air, and as in all good westerns, the bankers are the real villains. Gene is so cool as he handles the Thunder Riders, evil scientists, mendacious bankers, cruel but oddly flirty Queen Tika, and surprisingly clumsy robots, while always having time for a kind word to the Junior Thunder Riders and Smiley Burnett. You can tell that he lives by the Cowboy Code.

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