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A strange little offshoot of the Shadow mythos. Definitely the better of the two Shadow movies starring Rod La Rocque. This time, Lamont Cranston is a crusading crime journalist who writes a daily column entitled "The Shadow"! He does not wear the famous cloak and slouch hat, has no mind powers and everybody knows that he is the Shadow. His assistant is Phoebe Lane, who is cute and dizzy and not much relation to the superior Margo Lane at all. The film is based on the wise-cracking style of "The Thin Man" and occasionally delivers a genuinely funny moment. But for the most part this is a pretty dull murder mystery involving foreign agents. Completely lacking in the film noir, supernatural atmosphere of the radio series and the magazine. A curiosity but hardly The Shadow we know and love.
This Rod La Rocque/"Shadow" feature is pretty entertaining for a
B-mystery. It combines the main mystery story with the Shadow's running
battles of wits with the police and others. The two Shadow features
with La Rocque both have a different feel from the radio and print
stories, but both are watchable, and this one is the better of the two.
In this story, the Shadow has a radio show and a newspaper column, both of which he puts to use in solving the murder case that arises. The mystery itself is often just a sidelight to the Shadow's personal entanglements with the police commissioner, with his new, overly eager assistant (Astrid Allwyn), and with some of the principals in the case.
It's the kind of interesting, complex setup that a first-class writer could have done a great deal more with. As it is, although there are a couple of missed opportunities, it moves at a good pace and is interesting enough to make it a decent way to spend an hour or so.
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.
Typical Hollywood manipulation of an existing fictional character. This time the Shadow is nothing more than a lure to get kids to listen to police reports. There is no relation between this version of the character or any previous versions. The Shadow is purely imaginary and exists only as a picture on the wall of Lamont Cranston's office and the heading of his newspaper column. The story itself isn't bad, but they could have easily have left any reference to the Shadow or Lamont Cranston out of it and it would have been just as well. If you are seeking a movie containing the beloved pulp fiction character you would be better to ignore this one and look elsewhere.
The second of the Rod La Rocque Shadow movies is a vast improvement on
the first, and bears no relation to that film or anything else about
In this, Lamont Cranston is a newspaper/radio reporter who writes a column on crime, as well as having a radio show. His identity thus is a secret to no one. He is aided by Phoebe Lane, an aspiring reporter, in unraveling a mystery.
The mystery is interesting enough to hold interest and involves a crime that baffles everyone. There is some good scenes, especially with Cranston and Phoebe. But the characters (other than the Shadow) are all over the place. Phoebe is sometimes a smart protofeminist and also a complete ditz -- often in the same scene. Her final scene makes no sense after what we've seen before it.
But the movie does move along fairly well and the mystery is intriguing enough. It's a decent little film if you want something fun to kill an hour.
To me, this is NOT a Shadow film. The Shadow in this case is still
Lamont Cranston but "The Shadow" is his persona as a radio news
broadcaster! NOTHING like the old radio show at all! Come on, what were
they thinking when they made this tripe?!
And that girl - Phoebe Lane drives me insane! I'm sorry I just wanted to slap her for all of her "Wait for Phoebe" lines - among other things. She is the most irritating character, no wonder Lamont Cranston wanted to give her a hard time - but she is the niece of the owner of the radio station so she can do whatever she pleases - including ruin the station I'm assuming (she was doing at great job at that when I started fast-forwarding through the film)! It was her that totally ruined what might have been an okay film for me to watch - I can't stand her!
Lamont Cranston does not turn into The Shadow as he should and this Phoebe chick *deep sighs*! I'm sorry I can't give this one a good review - and it's NOT a "Shadow" film if Cranston does not turn into "The Shadow" - and that Phoebe!! "Wait for Phoebe"!!! -- very unfunny!
I enjoy this movie and have watched it several times (free on Amazon
Prime). The colorful characters and some snappy dialog are what
attracts me. The mystery aspects and especially Rod LaRocque's cheesy
foreign accent (used in a few scenes) are not.
I like Astrid Allwyn as the young, eager girl-Friday-wannabe-- slightly ditsy, but not outlandishly so. She gets off some good lines, like this: Waiter: More caviar, madame? Astrid Allwyn: Oh, no! If I eat any more of that buckshot, I'll pass out!
Lew Hearn as Moe is a colorful character. He bails out Cranston, and standing outside the cell, Cranston asks how much he owes him. Moe says something like, "Is this a place to talk business? It'll be on your bill."
Thomas E. Jackson is enjoyable as always, as a gruff, put-upon police commissioner. I remember him as the gruff, put-upon editor in "Nancy Drew, Reporter."
And Peter Potter is memorable as Cranston's assistant, with that sleepy-sounding Oklahoma drawl of his.
The mystery, the safe-cracking Honest John, and all that, is not to be dismissed, though there are some corny aspects of the plot. But all in all I like this movie and will no doubt watch it again.
International Conspiracy is the second of two movies about the famous
radio detective The Shadow who on radio has a genius for disguise and
for blending into the background. None of that was utilized as in the
other Shadow film that Rod LaRocque starred in for poverty row studio
Grand National Pictures.
Instead LaRocque is a newspaper columnist with his own radio show where he delights in continually showing up the cops in the solving of crimes. Hardly anything new there. My criticism is the same as it was for the other Shadow film, that audiences were probably buying tickets in anticipation of seeing the Shadow they knew from radio and LaRocque while interesting and entertaining just wasn't it.
The International Conspiracy involves The Shadow battling some foreign counterrevolutionaries who are trying to prevent US banking houses from funding loans to the new government in their country. Do I have to tell you who came out ahead?
LaRocque and girlfriend Astrid Allwyn made a fine pair of sleuths aided and abetted by Lew Hern as a Jewish cabdriver who seems to be on permanent retainer by The Shadow. Hern was quite droll in his characterization.
This Shadow film was slightly better than the other one LaRocque made for Grand National, but it wasn't the regular Shadow that millions of radio listeners expected.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This picture has all the slap dash feel of it's predecessor, "The
Shadow Strikes" from the prior year, also starring Rod LaRocque. Even
movie neophytes can figure out that this Shadow has no resemblance at
all to the character made famous in pulp magazines of the era. To make
matters worse, Lamont Cranston even utters the line from my summary
above, lending credence to the idea that the writers of this picture
really had no idea what they were doing. It was simply an attempt to
capitalize on the Shadow name by putting together a loosely constructed
story around a murder and espionage scheme involving foreign bonds, and
it's so convoluted that it's hard to maintain focus while watching.
Case in point - the lounge scene when Phoebe Lane (Astrid Allwyn) intrudes upon Cranston's conversation with the two foreigners. The bad guys want to lure the couple back to their apartment for a drink, Cranston (in a disguise consisting of a single monocle) declines, Phoebe insists on going. Once outside, it looks like rain, can't go, Cranston gives Phoebe the bum's rush, and the pair of international heavyweight crime barons just go along with it.
Believe it or not, the most interesting thing I found about this picture had to do with the posters outside the Metropolitan Theater where Phoebe's phony robbery tip sent Cranston and the police. Still playing from 1937 was Jimmy Cagney's "Something to Sing About". What I couldn't figure out though, was why the film makers decided to place Cranston and Commissioner Weston (Thomas E. Jackson) directly in front of an ad for 'Zino-Pads for Corns'. That my friends, probably said all it needed to about the picture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
this second movie in the Shadow series is no better or worst than the first one,in my opinion.Rod La Rocque is back as Lamont Cranston.however,in this one,Cranston plays a newspaper columnist,with a column called The Shadow Says and he hosts a short radio show running through the latest crime,as the voice of The Shadow.so if you're expecting Cranston to solve this case as The Shadow,or the Shadow to make an actual appearance you might be disappointed.in this movie Cranston solves another case,this time with the assistance of Phoebe Lane(who works at the same newspaper)who he meets while pondering the case.yes,i said Phoebe,not Margo.(Margo Lane is Cranston's sidekick in the long running The Shadow radio program).
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