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SOS Coast Guard (1937)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi  |  28 August 1937 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 135 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 4 critic

A mad scientist tries to sell his formula for a dist integrating gas to foreign powers.

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ralph Byrd ...
...
Boroff
Maxine Doyle ...
Jean Norman
Richard Alexander ...
Thorg
Lee Ford ...
Snapper McGee
Herbert Rawlinson ...
Cmdr. Boyle
John Picorri ...
G.A. Rackerby [Chs. 2-12]
...
Rabinisi - Boroff's Spokesman at Screening [Ch. 1]
Thomas Carr ...
Ens. Jim Kent [Ch. 1]
Carleton Young ...
Henchman Dodds [Ch. 4]
Allen Connor ...
Dick Norman
George Chesebro ...
L.H. Degado - Chief Thug [Ch. 5]
Ranny Weeks ...
Wies - Ambulance Orderly Thug [Ch. 4]
Edit

Storyline

A 12-episode serial. The government of Marovania hires the wicked Boroff to manufacture a powerful gas that causes mass disintegration. Boroff is en route to Marovania with a boatload of arnatite to make the gas when his steamer runs aground off the California coast. Boroff soon commits a murder. The Coast Guard, led by Lt. Terry Kent, must hunt Boroff, figure out his plan and where the arnatite is, capture and dispose of any gas Boroff manages to make, and protect the safety of civilians, including Terry's special friend, ubiquitous reporter Jean Norman, and her chatty photographer, Snapper McGee. Aiding Boroff is his slave Thorg, a formidable giant. Kent must often use his fists. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SUPER THRILLS! SEE disastrous shipwrecks...a mastodon of crime...the atom destroyer at work...a fight for life a mile in the air! SEE the undersea battle...behind the scenes with the G-Men...the exploding ring of death...and a thousand more sights! (original poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 August 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Guarda Costa Alerta  »

Box Office

Budget:

$107,217 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bela Lugosi's illness prevented him from finishing the 1936 Republic feature "House of a Thousand Candles," so he completed his one-picture Republic contract with this 12 chapter serial, his only screen role during the full two year horror ban. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Terry Kent: You might as well surrender, Boroff. You can't get away from the Coast Guard.
See more »

Connections

Edited into SOS Coast Guard (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

Above-average Republic serial with strong hero/villain pairing and expert staging
14 April 2008 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

SOS COAST GUARD (1937) never flags throughout its entire run of twelve chapters. Nearly every episode offers something new and different, be it a chase involving two cars and a motorcycle in one episode or one involving speedboats and tommy guns in the next. Most of it is filmed on location in all sorts of picturesque Southern California coastal sites. As the hero, Ralph Byrd (Republic's own Dick Tracy) seems to do a lot of his own stunts—on land and at sea. He clambers around rocks, flies a plane, goes out in boats, rides a motorcycle, runs around rooftops, jumps off of them and when he has to fight, he plunges right in, getting into furious scraps with a host of different henchmen. And it's never the typical movie fight in which opponents trade telegraphed punches. It's pummeling, tussling, shoving, grabbing, rolling, kicking—messy, like a real fight.

The hero and villain (Bela Lugosi) are well matched. They're both smart and proactive. The villain's always one step ahead—as it's gotta be for a serial to last 12 chapters—but Byrd is no dope and he catches up pretty quickly. The villain uses lots of henchmen, divided into different teams for different tasks, so Byrd's not fighting the same bad guys in every episode. Also, unlike most serial heroes, Byrd's not afraid to call in police or Coast Guard backup. One great scene has the henchmen staking out a lab where a scientist is trying to analyze the villain's disintegrating gas so he can find a method to counteract it. Byrd's got several policemen protecting the lab. The lead henchman comes up with a clever plan to get Byrd out of the way, find a ruse to get past the police, get into the lab, kidnap the scientist and get him out without arousing the cops' suspicions. Usually, scenes like this rely on wild coincidences or highly improbable circumstances, but the plan used here actually makes sense and one has to give the bad guys credit for using their heads. It makes the whole thing so much more dramatically interesting when the hero faces genuine challenges.

Bela Lugosi plays the villain, Boroff, a criminal mastermind trying to develop disintegrating gas to sell to foreign powers for use in the coming war. Lugosi plays it straight, without any of his usual over-the-top mannerisms, and he's very effective. He's well supported by the actors playing his men, who look and move like actual thugs and not pretty boys from Central Casting.

If I have any complaint it's that the idiot comic relief, inept photographer "Snapper" McGee, gets way too much screen time and is the only element that actually slows the serial down. Also, some of the cliffhanger endings are a little on the cheating side. In one ending, Byrd ducks into the cockpit of his plane as a water tower falls on top of him. At the beginning of the next episode, it shows that he escaped injury—by ducking into the cockpit of his plane! Not exactly worth waiting a week for. This actually doesn't bother me because the rest of the story is so filled with action and thrills that the cliffhanger endings really don't matter much.


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