"Red Barry" was the 40th sound-era serial produced by Universal Pictures (followed "Flaming Frontiers" and preceded "Scouts To the Rescue"), and was based in the Will Gould comic strip distributed to newspapers by King Features Syndicated, Inc. It was the third of five serials from Universal starring Buster Crabbe, and while the plot only revolves around two million dollars in bonds and soon evolves into a game of "Bonds, Bonds, Who Has the Bonds?", it has so many groups, and their armies of henchmen, acquiring and re-acquiring the bonds that, in a chapter or two, the people who have the bonds don't appear to know they are the current holders. Wing Fu, brings the bonds to the USA to buy war planes for an unnamed county, and quickly loses them to Quong Lee, a Eurasian underworld chief, but they are re-taken in chapter two by Red Barry. Ballet dancer Natacha, representing a ruthless group of Russians, acquires them in chapter three, but Barry gets them back in chapter four. Hong Kong ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not seen on TV over the last 50+ years, this 1938 serial was one of many Universal cliffhangers based on comic strip characters. It was shown in the early 1950s to the young TV viewing audience, but then it suddenly vanished, along with Ace Drummond (1936), Tim Tyler's Luck (1937), Radio Patrol (1937) and others. Except for the "Flash Gordon" trilogy (1936-40) and Buck Rogers (1939), also starring Buster Crabbe, these Saturday-matinée specials seemed to have dropped "off the radar", but thankfully have been revived for home video on VHS and now DVD. See more »
Lost in the shuffle between Flash Gordon and Busk Rogers, Buster Crabbe's only mystery serial is an unfairly neglected serial romp made during Universal's hey day. Based on William Gould's comic strip about a San Francisco police detective stationed in Chinatown, Crabbe plays the title character on the trail of stolen bonds needed for Chinese War Relief. Also after the bonds are Tong Warlord Quong Lee (Frank Lackteen), exiled Russian Countess Natacha (Edna Sedgewick)who feels they are her rightful property, and dilettante detective Valentine Vane (Hugh Huntley)who just wants to show up the cheerfully dogged police detective. The serial is an action packed, thrill ride filled with fist fights, shoot outs and car chases. The first eight chapters are the best with Crabbe constantly matching wits with Lackteen and besting Huntley at every turn, but then it takes a serious misstep in Chapter Eight when it is revealed that Lackteen is really a disguise for another character and Lackteen disappears while the rest of the serial is a repetitive back and forth between the characters as first one gets the bonds, loses them to someone else, only to recover them and lose them again in the next chapter. Still and all an enjoyable film to watch on a lazy summer day off.
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