6.6/10
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5 user 1 critic

Riders of Death Valley (1941)

Approved | | Action, Western | 1 July 1941 (USA)
Promoted and advertised as "The Million Dollar Serial", most of which appears to have been spent on advertising and the most elaborate pressbook ever put out by Universal on a serial (or ... See full summary »

Directors:

,

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Sherman Lowe), (screenplay) (as George Plympton) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Pancho Lopez
...
Tombstone
...
Wolf Reade
...
Borax Bill
...
Henchman Butch
...
...
Mary Morgan (as Jeanne Kelly)
...
Joseph Kirby
...
Rance Davis
...
Tex, a Benton Rider
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Henchman Dirk
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Henchman Trigger
...
Henchman Rusty
...
Henchman Pete Grump
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Storyline

Promoted and advertised as "The Million Dollar Serial", most of which appears to have been spent on advertising and the most elaborate pressbook ever put out by Universal on a serial (or 95% of their feature films for that matter), Universal's 51st sound-era serial (following "Sky Raiders" and before "Sea Raiders" and, to quote the late Oliver Drake who wrote the original story,..."we were lucky they didn't call it 'Land Raiders'), "Riders of Death Valley" remains a favorite for the 7-12 year-old kids who saw in on original release in 1941, and a major disappointment for those who came later and never saw it in the 35mm version shown on a screen in a 350-seat grind-house theatre, and now question what all the excitement was about. Hey, you had to have been there. Actually, it is just one long prolonged chase after another for the most part and, even worse, it is usually the 5-6 good guys running from 2-3 of the bad guys (which even had eight-year-old kids of 1941 wondering what's up ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

'DESCENDING DOOM!" - Chapter 8 Of The Million Dollar Serial (chapter 8 original one-sheet poster) See more »

Genres:

Action | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 July 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los jinetes de la muerte  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(15 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chapter Titles:
  • 1. Death Marks the Trail!


  • 2. Menacing Herd!


  • 3. Plungle of Peril!


  • 4. Flaming Fury!


  • 5. Avalanche of Doom!


  • 6. Blood and Gold!


  • 7. Death Rides the Storm!


  • 8. Descending Doom!


  • 9. Death Holds the Reins!


  • 10. Devouring Flames!


  • 11. Fatal Blast!


  • 12. Thundering Doom!


  • 13. The Bridge of Disaster!


  • 14. A Fight to the Death!


  • 15. The Harvest of Hate.


See more »

Goofs

During chase scenes, when the action is proceeding from left to right, most shooters are right-handed. But when action is shown as proceeding from right to left, everybody is left-handed, including placement of their holsters. See more »

Quotes

Pancho Lopez: Here - why you want to put your dirty face in my horse's water?
Borax Bill: Who, me?
Pancho Lopez: Yeah, you! Don't you know I gotta held your horse and you put germans in the water?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Main Title is composed with bones. See more »

Soundtracks

Fingal's Cave Overture
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interminable length for a B western plot
28 April 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I'm not a fan of movie serials in general. I think it's an art form that has come and thankfully gone. Especially a western serial like this where Universal Pictures got an interesting name cast for Riders Of Death Valley.

The plot is one that could have been used for a good B western. Dick Foran and Buck Jones head the Riders Of Death Valley, a vigilante outfit formed because the law is ineffective against ruthless outlaws like Charles Bickford and Lon Chaney, Jr.

The whole serial is longer than Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments sound version and not nearly as good. The first part is Foran and company battling Bickford to locate a lost mine. The second part is Foran trying to work his mine and at the same time meet his financial obligations.

Through fifteen chapters Foran manages to survive, a landslide, a desert sandstorm, a mine accident, stampeding horses, and a framed murder charge. Just one is enough for any cowboy hero.

Serials were never meant to be viewed as I did on a DVD at home. 20 or so minute chapters every week back in the old days. But even at that I suspect they're no better.

With a length longer than a biblical spectacle, it must have taken Universal a long time and a big budget to film Riders Of Death Valley. It was a waste of time.


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