Lamont Cranston (Rod La Rocque), amateur criminologist and detective, with a daily radio program, sponsored by the Daily Classic newspaper, has developed a friendly feud that sometimes ... See full summary »
Lamont Cranston (Rod La Rocque), amateur criminologist and detective, with a daily radio program, sponsored by the Daily Classic newspaper, has developed a friendly feud that sometimes passes the friendly stage with Police Commissioner Weston (Thomas E. Jackson). He complains to his managing editor, Edward Heath (Oscar O'Shea), over the problems that have developed in his department since Phoebe Lane (Astrid Allwyn) has been hired as his assistant. He is advised to forget it since she is the publisher's niece. During his broadcast about Honest John (William Pawley), a famous safe cracker who has served his time, Phoebe gives him a note that the Metropolitan Theatre is to be robbed at eight o'clock and she is so insistent that he adds it as his closing note. Off the air, he learns she got the information from a man she met in a café who had an honest face. Cranston goes to the theatre where Weston and his men have gathered and, of course, nothing happens but, across town, a safe is ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lew Hearn made occasional appearances on "The Jack Benny Program" radio show starting around 1935 as the character "Schlepperman". His trademark was saying, "Hello, stranger," using his distinctive accent just as he does in this movie. See more »
Kind of disappointing to realize that these two Shadow films made contemporaneously with the Shadow pulp magazine and the radio show's original releases are far less faithful to the character's mythos than the 1993 film with Alec Baldwin! The pulp magazine is probably the most intense iteration of The Shadow, with plenty of supernatural adventures and mystical side tracks. The radio show is almost as good, with a little more crime busting/film noir attitude and lots more dealings with common thugs or criminal masterminds than with metaphysical foes.
This film and its companion are the most lightweight of the bunch, with a very light tone and no mystical elements whatsoever. Everybody knows LaMont Cranston is The Shadow, who is merely a newspaper columnist and radio show host. None of the "wealthy playboy" secret identity here. None of the secret disguises (unless you count a monocle and a bad German accent), and none of the awesome "metaphysically manipulating the weak minds of criminals" mind tricks. BO-RING! No cool sidekicks; he has only his ditzy assistant, a narcoleptic leg man and a goofy Yiddish-accented cabbie with a gun-shaped cigarette holder to assist him.
Going in to this with no prior knowledge of the Shadow character, I could see how somebody would find this to be an enjoyable puff piece. But I was bitterly disappointed, having read (only a few!) of the original Shadow stories from the 30's, and heard a few of the original radio shows. I won't give it the indignity of a one rating, since they did a fair job on a low budget. But a three is as high as I can go.
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