Columbia's 12th serial of 57 total (following 1940's "Deadwood Dick" and ahead of 1941's "White Eagle") is another of director's James Horne's "classics" where he evidently figured that the... See full summary »
Professor Davidson (Frank Shannon) and his daughter Diana (Jeanne Bates)search Africa for the Lost City of Zoloz, reputed to be the source of a large hidden treasure. Also searching is a ... See full summary »
On a scientific expedition to Siam young Billy Batson is given the ability to change himself into the super-powered Captain Marvel by the wizard Shazam, who tells him his powers will last only as long as the Golden Scorpion idol is threatened. Finding the idol, the scientists realize it could be the most powerful weapon in the world and remove the lenses that energize it, distributing them among themselves so that no one would be able to use the idol by himself. Back in the US, Billy Batson, as Captain Marvel, wages a battle against an evil, hooded figure, the Scorpion, who hopes to accumulate all five lenses, thereby gaining control of the super-powerful weapon. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although the archaeological expedition bears Malcolm's name, everyone defers to Howell as if he's in charge - until his murder late in the first chapter. See more »
[sound of a huge gong omninously echoes down the valley]
What's that, Mr. Howell?
Howell [Ch. 1]:
I don't know, Billy - let's find out. What do you make of that cymbal, Malcolm?
I don't know, Howell. Does it mean anything to you, Tal Chotali?
The men of the hills are gathering. The cymbal says that the white men are to be driven from the Valley of Tombs.
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One of my favorite Republic serials, along with Zorro's Fighting Legion and Spy Smasher. Adventures of Captain Marvel is slick, fast-paced and action packed. Of course, it has the usual failings of most serials -- low budget, short shooting schedule, a few bumps and wrinkles along the way -- but if that bothers you, you are probably one of those viewers who complain about the plots of Jackie Chan films. Frank Coughlan, Jr., does creditable work as Billy Batson, while Tom Tyler (Stagecoach, Red River) makes a robust Captain Marvel. Fans of Indiana Jones will love this, especially the sets in Chapter One. The best part about Capt. Marvel is his occasional shortage of a sense of fair play. (When was the last time you saw Superman machine gun three guys in the back as they ran away?) This is one super hero who doesn't play around. I also love Tyler's evil grin as bullets bounce off his chest and his propensity for pimp-slapping the bad guys when they don't answer his questions quickly enough. Also, look for Reed Hadley (Zorro) as one of the bad guys; unmistakable due to his superb voice. Hadley narrated A-bomb training films for the US government and had high level security clearance for the job. The other big plus of Capt. Marvel is the ground-breaking flying effects by the Lydeckers, using wires, dummies, reversed film and the leaping skills of stuntman Dave Sharpe. If you love adventure serials, you'll love The Adventures of Captain Marvel. Highly recommended is the DVD release from Artisan.
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