Thompson is an obvious onscreen replacement for Downwind Jaxon, a character in the SMILIN' JACK comic strip who was always facing downwind - that is, away from the reader - because he was supposed to be so handsome that the women he met were always attracted to him. See more »
Though Mandon is supposedly located on the border between China and India, the walls of the high priest's temple are decorated with Egyptian hieroglyphics. (Universal recycled the set from the 1940 film "The Mummy's Hand.") See more »
All in all, I liked this for what it was: an un-subtle manipulation of theater patrons. The main enemy in this serial is Japan, and the Japanese are diminished to Japs and Nips (always said with a slight sneer), while the Chinese are simply Chinese. There's a German ubiquitous female agent who fancies herself to be in command of the Japanese, but she is just one dimensional: harsh, nasty, humorless.
The plot is a bit thin. A peace loving Chinese province bordering the Himalayas has a secret passage (the Stillwell Road?) of some sort to India, through which vital troops and supplies could be funneled to fight the Japanese. The spiritual leader of the province agrees to reveal the secret to the Chinese and British, with numerous conditions, and the Axis tries to kidnap or kill him before he can talk. There is delay upon delay for no reason but to string this out to 13 chapters.
There are the usual hairbreadth escapes after each cliffhanger episode, and some of them are pretty silly. As in all serials, the viewer is cheated, in that a bit of film is held back, film in which the hero escapes death in the nick of time. There are also the usual fistfights without a knuckle getting skinned, the usual chases, etc.
As serials go, this is fairly standard, directed toward the puerile audience that filled theaters on Saturday afternoons.
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