Columbia's 7th serial (between Flying G-Men and Overland With Kit Carson)was based on the King Features newspaper comic strip created by Lee Falk and Phil Davis, Mandrake the Magician, the ... See full summary »
Columbia's 7th serial (between Flying G-Men and Overland With Kit Carson)was based on the King Features newspaper comic strip created by Lee Falk and Phil Davis, Mandrake the Magician, the world's foremost exponent of mind over matter, although most of us who read the strip over the years were never really certain whether Mandrake was really a magician, or just had even more ability to cloud men's minds than the Shadow. The serial does allow Mandrake to discard his tie and tails when he isn't performing professionally, but out of his top hat and cloak, he is mainly a fist-slugging detective in this serial. Mandrake and Luthor are working the cruise lines and meet Professor Hudson who has developed a radium energy machine, which is much coveted by "The Wasp", who sends his hordes of henchmen in waves to steal the invention, and they blow up a radio station, a power plant and a dam pdq just to show they mean business. Mandrake, after 11 chapters, finally catches up to "The Wasp" in ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
If you have stumbled upon this title and think you will see the hero of your comic book youth brought to the screen you will be disappointed. Mandrake has been shoehorned into a stock serial plot that could have used any one of a dozen heroes from Batman to Dick Tracy. Once again, a wonder invention cooked up by a solitary recluse in his basement is stolen from a mostly unguarded private residence and now the world is threatened. The police and the FBI are apparently helpless so it falls upon Mandrake to set things right. Alas, this Mandrake is a pale imitation of the comic wizard. The hypnotically gesturing magus of the comics has become a stage magician, doing card tricks on an ocean liner. Instead of confusing his enemies with black magic, he slugs it out with his fists, implausibly whipping two or three thugs at once, all without displacing his top hat.
This is not to say the serial isn't entertaining. But most will likely view it as a 70 year old curiosity rather than the exciting thriller it was meant to be. Whether you want to invest almost 4 hours of your life watching it is the question. Incidentally, the title music would later be reused in the Columbia serial "The Vigilante, Fighting Hero of the West" in a somewhat re-orchestrated form. The story, of course, would be recycled again and again.
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