Republic's serials were usually the most exciting of the genre, and for this 1945 entry a bit of a twist was added. The fantasy element inherent in serials was toned down, and here we have a more realistic but still engagingly over the top action story.
Jim Belmont is a master criminal who is rescued from his captor, FBI Agent Tom Jeffries, by his chief gunman Matt Farrell. Once reunited with his gang, Belmont relaxes by incessant playing of the piano, and then goes to work to enrichen his empire, first with a plan to steal crown jewels from the countess of a European principality. For this and other tasks he has a large army of co-conspirators, led by Farrell and also by Belmont's moll, Rita Parker.
Rita and another gunman, Riggs, get information on the countess from the FBI's West coast office, and promptly run into the new agent assigned to track down Belmont, Jerry Blake. Rita escapes but Riggs is shot and Tom Jeffries' secretary, Joyce Kingston (quite a few serial ladies were named Joyce for some reason), is freed from capture. Belmont knows Blake from previous encounters, and warns his mob not to underrate him. This proves the case when Farrell steals the crown jewels only to see Blake free the captured countess and take off on pursuit.
A series of crimes then ensues, as Blake works to frustrate Belmont only to see Belmont escape. At one point Rita is captured, but a trap to snare Belmont goes wrong and the criminal and his moll escape.
Marten Lamont is very sympathetic as Jerry Blake. Part James Bond (he speaks with a mild British accept) and part Joe Friday, Jerry steadily becomes more disconsolate at Belmont's escapes, nicely illustrated when he must record a letter to his superiors updating the pursuit. George J. Lewis meanwhile adds menace through his unflappable demeanor.
Both men are ably abetted by the two ladies involved. Helen Talbot is spunky as Joyce Kingston and Lorna Gray adds a nice noir touch as Rita Parker.
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