6.9/10
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The Spider Returns (1941)

The evil and masked "Gargoyle" is sabotaging all of America's industrial plants. It is up to the Spider to save the country.

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Writers:

(story) (as Morgan B. Cox), (story) (as Lawrence E. Taylor) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Richard Wentworth / The Spider / Blinky McQuade
...
Nita Van Sloan
...
Jackson, Wentworth's Aide
...
Police Commissioner Kirk (as Joe Girard)
...
Ram Singh, Wentworth's Hindu Chauffeur (as Kenneth Duncan)
...
McLeod
...
Westfall
Charles Miller ...
Mr. Van Sloan
...
Henchman Trigger
...
Stephen
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Storyline

Columbia's 14th serial (between "White Eagle" and "The Iron Claw") and the second serial based upon the character in the pulp magazine from Popular Publications "The Spider Magazine." Some sources, evidently based on their knowledge that L. Ron Hubbard and Norvell Page wrote stories for that magazine, have incorrectly credited them as being writers of this serial. The only serial that L. Ron Hubbard wrote was 1938's "The Secret of Treasure Island" filmed by Columbia, and the only connection Page has is that he wrote stories about the character in the magazine. Chapter One, "The Stolen Plans", has a gang of saboteurs, led by The Gargoyle, a mysterious and powerful agent for an unnamed country, playing havoc with National Defense projects. Socialite Richard Wentworth (Warren Hull), alias the Spider, returns to continue his crusade against the underworld. Wentworth calls a meeting of the nation's biggest business men, but the Gargoyle's men disrupt it with a tear-gas bomb. Chasing after ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SMASHING A GIGANTIC SABOTAGE PLOT...From the thrill-filled pages of "The Spider" magazine roars a sensational Chapter-Play! (original window-card) See more »


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 May 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Volta da Aranha  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chapter Titles: 1. The Stolen Plans (PCA #7048) 2. The Fatal Time-Bomb ((PCA #7049) 3. The Secret Meeting (PCA #7050) 4. The Smoke Dream (PCA #7051) 5. The Gargoyle's Trail (PCA #7052) 6. The X-Ray Eye (PCA #7053) 7. The Radio Boomerang (PCA #7054) 8. The Mysterious Message (PCA #7055) 9. The Cup of Doom (PCA #7056) 10.The X-Ray Belt (PCA #7057) 11.Lips Sealed by Murder (PCA #7058) 12.A Money Bomb (PRCA #7059) 13.Almost a Confession (PCA #7059) 14.Suspicious Telegram (PCA #7060) 15.The Payoff (PCA #7060) See more »

Goofs

Chapter two: During the fight at the chemical plant, chemical tanks are overturned, when they land, they sound like tin. See more »

Connections

Follows The Spider's Web (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spider spins a web
28 May 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The thing that strikes me is the paucity of good henchmen in the old serials, the Master Criminals just couldn't find good help! Surely there was a better class of hoods to choose from? Or perhaps spending money on a vast master plan didn't leave much over to find decent staff? Anyway,the crooks here on offer are certainly not paid for their intelligence or indeed their courage as at the first sign of the police, they leg it as fast as possible. Of course, this saves the Spider on a number of occasions as he has the annoying habit of bursting in on a gang of thugs and attempts to slug it out with them and always comes a cropper and ends up unconscious on the floor. This does allow the writers to put him in the obligatory cliffhanger at the end of each episode.

It's unfair to judge these old serials in one showing as they weren't intended to be watched like that. I attempted to get close to the weekly chapters by viewing an episode each evening and fast forwarding the synopsis at the start of the chapter. This did give a feel of how they would have been seen at the time of release.

You do find that the same sets are used over and over again, especially the bar where the gang makes it's headquarters in the back. Although,there never are any other customers ever. But that's low budget serial making for you.

The cliffhangers and escapes are okay and pretty much of the standard of the time, burning cars, building collapses, fire traps,etc. Warren Hull does a good job in the triple roles of Richard Wentworth, the Spider and undercover baddie, Blinky McCade and does seem to be enjoying himself in each one,which makes it all enjoyable for the audience. The supporting cast are fine too and while nothing special, it's all fun to watch.

Police Commissioner Kirk is a complete oaf though,badly acted and how such a dolt got to be head of police is the biggest mystery after who the master villain the Gargoyle really is! Kirk constantly bows to Wentworth and lets him run the show and make the decisions, at one point he says," Wentworth made a monkey and a laughing stock of me!" I think you'll find he was doing a pretty good job on his own.

There are plot holes you could drive a bus through in the story but these were intended as fast moving action adventure yarns and a little thing like plots were on the back burner most of the time. And there's always something happening to keep your mind of things like that. Like a roller-coaster ride, just go with the flow and enjoy the trip.


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