Rick Leland makes no secret of the fact he has no loyalty to his home country after he is court-marshaled out of the army and boards a Japanese ship for the Orient in late 1941. But has ... 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 »
Columbia Pictures 18th serial (between "Captain Midnight" and "The Secret Code"). The trading post of Sitkawan, Canada is stunned one morning to learn that the previously peaceful Indians ... See full summary »
James W. Horne
A girl is about to inherit a fortune, but she is missing in Africa. Only then, family charges Congo Bill, an adventurer, to find her, and bring her back to civilization. He follows a legend about some White Queen, but his path is full of difficulties, by an inhospitable jungle, and the man who will lose the fortune if the girl is found alive.
The score for Spy Smasher, a variation on Beethoven's fifth symphony, is a fabulous reminder of the era in which this classic serial was made.
While Spy Smasher is certainly one of the top 5 adventure serials ever made at Republic, it also is a rousing WW2 propaganda film. Check out the title sequence -- three dots and a dash appear on the screen, coinciding with the first four notes of Beethoven's fifth. Three dots and a dash are Morse code for the letter "V," made famous by Churchill's hand sign as a determination to defeat the Nazis and their cronies. Twin searchlights in the title sequence freeze into another V. The coded messages abound in Spy Smasher--even on Spy Smasher's belt buckle.
The action here is top notch, the cast capable, the stunt work great (as always at Republic) and the special effects likewise. If you like Republic serials (Zorro's Fighting Legion, Adventures of Captain Marvel, etc.) you MUST take a look at this one. It is one of the very best. Kane Richmond later went on to play the Shadow in a couple of films, one of which featured a killer who pulled his victims to their deaths off of balconies using a bullwhip, a stunt which was first seen in Spy Smasher. One thing I love about this chapterplay is the acknowledgment that we would not win the war without suffering losses. Great pacing, great action, great serial!
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