The Phantom, descendent of a line of African superheroes, travels to New York City to thwart a wealthy criminal genius from obtaining three magic skulls which would give him the secret to ultimate power.
Four hundred years ago, a young boy witnessed his father's death during an attack on their ship by the bloodthirsty Sengh Brotherhood. He was washed ashore on Bengalla Island where he swore to devote his life to bring down piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice. He became The Phantom, a masked avenger whose role was passed down for father to son, leading people to believe in an immortal figure called "The Ghost Who Walks". The 21st successor to the role of Bengalla's resident superhero must travel to New York City to prevent a power-hungry businessman from obtaining three magic skulls that would give him the secret to ultimate power. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
In the 1970s, pre-production began on a low budget Phantom feature to be shot in Mexico, with Batman star Adam West in the title role. However, there were issues with the character rights and the film was scrapped. See more »
In the pan shot of the Pan American dockside terminal when Diane Palmer is boarding the Orient Clipper you can clearly see a modern window-style air conditioning unit sticking through the front wall of the terminal building. Such units did not exist in the time period in which this movie was set (late 1930s). See more »
In case you forgot...
It all began a very long time ago, when a merchant ship was set upon by pirates of the Sengh Brotherhood. A small boy watched helplessly as his father was killed by the pirate leader, the Evil Kabai Sengh. He jumped overboard, and was washed ashore on a mysterious jungle island called Bengalla. It seemed like a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire, but the Touganda tribesmen meant the boy no harm. They scooped him up and carried him to their village...
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There's always a danger in bringing comic book heroes to the screen in that most are pretty bad. Some are satisfying, e.g., the Batman and Superman films come to mind. But, the Phantom was essentially a strip comic by Lee Falk that I used to read as a kid and which had been around long before me (I'll be 65 this year). I remember seeing the serial at the Saturday morning matinees and loved the comic strip. Time passes and the Phantom faded and then, in 1993, I went to Somalia as a consultant during the UNITAF occupation and was billeted with the Aussies. To my amazement, I discovered the Phantom was not only alive and well Down Under, but there were active comic books cults, conventions and the like there as well. So, no wonder the film enjoyed a revival of a defunct strip but, alas, there is much to be desired in the effort and the final product is almost a parody of the original. My wife and I saw it for a bargain matinee and I enjoyed it. However, I suffer few illusions that it could not have been done better. It was a romp and maybe, as one reviewer noted, Catherine Zeta-Jones was worth the price of admission. Well, for my part, I liked young Billy Zane's Phantom with the sheepish grin, Treat Williams's sardonic evil smile and Christy Swanson's Diana, a pleasant departure from her Vampire staking role as Buffy. It was also good to see Patrick McGoohan, former Secret Agent Man as the Phantom's predecessor. I think this film is worth the price of a rental for a rainy afternoon.
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