This Weiss Serials Production film, ("Presented" by George M. Merrick who also co-wrote the screenplay and was the production manager), with the working title of "The Amazing Exploits of the Clutching Hand" but the actual release title on the film and all the printed material related to it was "The Clutching Hand", was loosely based on a novel by "Craig Kennedy" creator Arthur B. Reeve, and was also released as a feature in addition to the 15 chapter serial, both of which were originally distributed by Stage and Screen Productions, Inc. In Chapter 1, ("Who is the Clutching Hand?"), Doctor Paul Gironda announces he has discovered a formula for the manufacture of synthetic gold. The International Research Foundation agrees to financially help him develop his formula. Just before the Board of Directors arrive at Gironda's laboratory to witness his achievement, he is heard screaming, and mysteriously disappears before help arrives. Newspaper reporter Walter Jameson, who is engaged to ...Written by
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Shirley McMillan (i.e. Ruth Mix) drives a 1936 Ford coupe. See more »
During the barroom fight in chapter one, it is quite obvious that some of the cheers and shouts from the onlookers (particularly the man shouting "Oh boy!") have been sped-up. See more »
[gives Mitchell a handful of cash]
Here you are, Mitchell. You're going out into the world a free man. I hope you become a useful and law-abiding member of society.
Aw, cut out the lecture, Warden.
Bitterness won't get you anywhere, Mitchell. Now that you squared your debt...
My debt ain't squared... not by a long shot. I got a lot of collectin' to do.
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"The Clutching Hand" is an above average independently produced serial. It has some excellent production values including set pieces such as the laboratory, the saloon and those oh so sharp vintage period cars. The direction by Albert Harmon is crisp, as he keeps the action flowing.
The "McGuffin" of this story is a formula for making gold developed by scientist Dr. Paul Gironda (Robert Frazier). Shortly after announcing its development, Gironda is kidnapped. Soon it is discovered that "The Clutching Hand" the shadowy villain with the maniacal laugh is responsible.
Famous detective Craig Kennedy (Jack Mulhall - not your usual handsome dashing hero) is brought into the case. Along with ace reporter Walter Jameson (Rex Lease) they set about to solve the case. They try in vain to find Dr. Gironda and to learn the identify of the Clutching Hand. As in all serials, there are many suspects, chief among whom are the Board of Directors of the International Research Foundation.
After making narrow escapes from the usual serial traps and pitfalls, Kennedy finally learns the identity of "The Clutching Hand" and solves the case in the final chapter. The identity of the villain caught me completely off guard.
Others in the cast include Mae Busch as Gironda's wife, Marion Schilling as their daughter Verna, William Farnum as Gaunt, Kennedy's chief, Ruth Mix as Gironda's secretary, Shirley McMillan and Franklyn Farnum as Gironda's assistant Nicky.
Lining up with the bad guys are Yakima Canutt, Robert Kortman, Dick Alexander, Tom London, Charles Lochner, Gaston Glass and Bryant Washburn. You can be sure that Canutt had a hand in the many fight scenes and other stunts.
William and Frankyn Farnum were not brothers as some believe, in fact they were not even related. William and Dustin Farnum were brothers, whose careers dated back to the early silent days. Charles Lochner would shortly change his name to Jon Hall and enjoy a lengthy career as a leading man.
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