A young man's father is murdered and the man convicted of the crime escapes prison, leaving a note intimating that seven local men know the real killer's true identity. The murdered man's ...
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A young man's father is murdered and the man convicted of the crime escapes prison, leaving a note intimating that seven local men know the real killer's true identity. The murdered man's son sets out to locate the seven men and find his father's slayer.Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[Jim helps an escaped prisoner who is dying of thirst]
You're not going to send me back are ya?
Why shouldn't I?
Because I didn't do the things I'm charged with. I didn't do it. I swear I didn't! I was railroaded. You believe me, don't you? Fifteen years in that hellhole - fifteen years for something I never done!
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"Phantom of the West" was advertised as an "All Talking Serial", which it was. Unfortunately, most of the actors in the picture hadn't learned to act for sound. You see many of the exaggerated facial expressions and movements that were commonplace in silent films. I have to admit that this serial was a "poverty row" quickie and that the budget probably didn't allow for the hiring of better talent.
I found the plot to be very confusing, especially in the first nine chapters. Granted, all is explained in Chapter 10, but it sure made the watching of the first nine very an arduous process.
The plot is typical "B" western. A man has been falsely accused of murdering a rancher and escapes jail to find the real killer. Along the way we meet a masked "Phantom" whose purpose seems to be to kill off the suspects and place the blame on hero Tom Tyler. The Phantom's costume by the way, looks ridiculous. We also have, and this is where it gets confusing, a group of masked riders garbed not unlike the Phantom who ride in and out of the story for no apparent purpose other than to confuse the viewer.
Tyler, does his best as the hero whose father was the original murder victim. The fetching Dorothy Gulliver plays Mona Cortez the heroine of the story. Frank Lanning is just horrible in the role of Cortez, the man out to avenge his wrongful imprisonment. Among the murder suspects are silent veterans William Desmond, Tom Santschi, Philo McCullough and Kermit Maynard. Tom Dugan as Oscar the stuttering Deputy Sheriff provides the comedy relief. Speaking of comedy relief, strong man or wrestler (I don't remember which) Joe Bonomo appears as "one of the boys".
Tom Tyler would go on to better days. Though best remembered for his many western portrayals (on both sides of the law), he did star in two classic serials in the 1940s, "The Adventures of Captain Marvel" (1941) and "The Phantom" (1943).
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