A Martian spacecraft crash-lands near the observatory of Cyrus Layton, designer of Earth's first spaceship. The survivor, forerunner of an invasion, can assume the form of any earthman. ... See full summary »
The Daily Clarion hires detective story writer Steve Colt to investigate the deaths of a group of scientists working on an atomic rocket development project. Behind the killings is fortune ... See full summary »
Detective Lt.Bill Bannister has the assignment to run down an unknown gang of terrorists spreading a net of crime over the city. Aiding him is Detective Tim Nolan, news photographer Vicki ... See full summary »
The California-Yucatan Railroad, being built for the good of Mexico, is under siege by a gang of terrorists hoping to force its sale; no one can prove their connection to profiteer Marsden.... See full summary »
During the latter stages of the Civil War, a gang of supposed Confederates, headed by Alex Morel (Lionel Atwill), raid all gold shipments destined for Washington from Oro Grande, California... See full summary »
Canadian Tom Merritt has discovered a substance, Compound X, that will cure infantile paralysis, which he extracts from a mine at Caribou, Canada. A country at war with Canada (unnamed ... See full summary »
A 12-episode serial in which a son avenges the death of his father at the hands of corrupt politicians. He develops a wide variety of complex devices in his crusade . . . ray guns, robots ... See full summary »
Professor Campbell's expedition into the hills of Libya obtains a papyrus which might reveal the hiding place of the Golden Tablets of Hippocrates, containing lost medical secrets. Also in the region is intrepid Nyoka Gordon, still seeking her father, lost on a previous expedition. She alone can translate the papyrus, which directs our heroes through deadly perils (including the Tunnel of Bubbling Death) into the land of the Tuaregs. Opposing them are Vultura, Queen of the Desert, and her Arab ally Cassib, both greedy for the treasure... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
In chapter 1 when Larry is fighting the gorilla, the gorilla grabs the saber and breaks it, but the sound when it breaks is wood, not steel, and when it hits the floor, the sound is also of wood. See more »
Closing credits are written in the sand. See more »
I'm beginning to understand that movies carry themselves into our minds in different ways.
Some movies have their experience centered on the time when you are actually watching it. Many movies have greater impact in their memory. Its after you leave the theater that the thing really seeps in.
Some movies are carried by the idea behind them. We acknowledge the idea and let the movie wash by us unless it announces how bad it is. But there's another mode that I'm trying to understand, an interest that started when the final (episode 3) Star Wars entry was imminent.
Serials afford us a means to have the effect of the movie suspended between episodes, which makes it more likely that the elements of the thing will merge with or be incorporated in our lives. So I've been studying serials.
Some of these are the most important film experiences you will ever have, from "Phantom Empire" to the TeeVee "miniseries" of "Singing Detective," and for some "Decalog". In between are all manner of beasts. All happen to be more close to archetypes than their one- shot brethren. All happen to employ smaller plot elements but because of the repetition, some can build layer upon layer of density.
Of the seven of eight serials I've been watching is this one. It has no intrinsic cinematic interest, but it the most fun to watch of any I've seen. Incidentally, I think you really need to watch these episodes on different days.
This features low production values, mostly cheesy acting and trite plot lines. But we routinely forgive this (we did with "Star Wars") if the overarching notions stick.
We have the good and bad women, both far closer to pure archetype than real character. The good girl seeks to rescue her father and retrieve an ancient writing with great power to help humanity. The bad girl seeks the same ancient thing but only for riches (and personal power). The struggle between these two is reflective of the same struggle in the minds of filmmakers. They can seek and utilize ancient archetypes for artistic or hedonistic ends.
Having two ripe young women struggle over this, with Egyptian and film Western trappings is about as pure as it gets. This serial is notable in that things actually happen in each segment rather than having the good guys get in precarious situations. In this case, as in the Star Wars saga, the father is captured by the dark side, threatens the group and is deprogrammed back to the good. Also as in Star Wars, there's a guy in a gorilla costume.
The key trick here is how often you think about the thing between watchings. Now that's cinema. It has devolved in modern times to less profound TeeVee formulas. After all, the purpose of these old serials was to engage you in a cinematic life, to subtly convince you to shell out your weekly 25 cents for the film experience.
TeeVee exploitation of the phenomenon is merely to sell stuff unrelated to the life in film.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
8 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?