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The Secret Code (1942)

Approved | | Action, Drama | 4 September 1942 (USA)
1:06 | Trailer
A superhero known as The Black Commando battles Nazi agents who use explosive gases and artificial lightning to sabotage the war effort.


(as Spencer G. Bennet)


(original screenplay), (original screenplay) (as Robert Beche) | 1 more credit »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Dan Barton / The Black Commando
Jean Ashley
Rudolph Anders ...
Rudi Thysson (as Robert O. Davis)
Det. Sgt. Pat Flanagan
Nazi Agent Feldon (as Gregory Gay)
Nazi Prof. Metzger (as Louis Donath)
Beal Wong ...
Chief Henchman Berck
Wade Boteler ...
Police Chief Burns
Desk Sgt. Cullen
Investigator Hogan [Chs.6-9,11-15]
Investigator Ryan
Maj. Henry Barton
Jacqueline Dalya ...
Linda [Chs.1,3,5,12-15]


Another film made during WW II in which all the German-born actors, or actors with German-sounding names, changed their names for, to use a WW II expression, "the duration." Here Rudolph Anders chose to be billed as Robert O. Davis and Ludwig Donath opted for Louis Donath, even though they, and most of the other name-change actors of the day, always ended up playing Nazis anyway. This Columbia serial, made after Columbia serial producer Larry Darmour had died, thus making Ralph Cohn the credited producer, finds Police Lieutenant Dan Barton, ordered to contact and smash a mysterious Axis sabotage ring, arranging to have himself thrown off the police force in disgrace. He calls attention to himself by assaulting a high government official, the custodian of a newly-devised formula for the manufacture of synthetic rubber, in a faked "effort" to steal the formula. While under the "protection" of the saboteurs who are still suspicious of him, Dan learns that they have been ordered to ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Action | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 September 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Arma Invisível  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chapter Titles: 1. Enemy Password 2. The Shadows of the Swastika 3. Nerve Gas 4. The Sea Spy Strikes 5. Wireless Warning 6. Flaming Oil 7. Submarine Patrol 8. The Missing Key 9. The Radio Bomb 10. Blind Bombardments 11. Ears of the Enemy 12. Scourge of the Orient 13. Pawn of the Spy Ring 14. Dead Men of the Deep 15. The Secret Code Smashed See more »

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User Reviews

One of, if not, Columbia's best chapterplays
3 July 2002 | by (Flushing, NY) – See all my reviews

Police Lieutenant Dan Barton stages a public dismissal from the police department, in order to join a band of Nazi agents/saboteurs and learn their secret code they have been using. To further assist his efforts, Barton assumes the identity of the Black Commando, who is wanted by the villains and police, who are also searching for Barton for a murder charge. So much great stuff happens in this serial. To begin with, Spencer Bennett's direction is some of the best of that field in serial history, with action a plenty and hardly any slow spots. Paul Kelly may have an annoying toughness to the role, but he carries his performance well. Great WWII example of how spies and saboteurs can be as close as the man you shake hands with. Also extra attraction of the code breaking segments at the end of each chapter. Rating, in terms of serials,- 10 of 10.

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