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The Phantom Creeps (1939)

Approved | | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 January 1939 (USA)
A military intelligence officer and a pretty reporter try to find a scientist whose inventions can destroy the world.

Writers:

George H. Plympton (screenplay) (as George Plympton), Basil Dickey (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bela Lugosi ... Dr. Alex Zorka
Robert Kent ... Capt. Bob West
Dorothy Arnold ... Jean Drew
Edwin Stanley Edwin Stanley ... Dr. Fred Mallory
Regis Toomey ... Jim Daly
Jack C. Smith Jack C. Smith ... Monk
Edward Van Sloan ... Jarvis [Chs. 2-12]
Dora Clement ... Ann Zorka [Chs. 1-2] (as Dora Clemant)
Anthony Averill ... Rankin - Henchman [Chs. 2-12]
Hugh Huntley Hugh Huntley ... Perkins - Mallory's Lab Assistant [Chs. 2-12]
Monte Vandergrift ... Al - Guard [Ch. 5]
Frank Mayo ... Train Engineer [Ch. 6]
Jim Farley ... Skipper [Ch. 9] (as James Farley)
Eddie Acuff ... Mac - AMI Agent [Chs. 2-12]
Reed Howes ... Signalman [Ch. 10]
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Storyline

"The Phantom Creeps" was Universal's 44th sound-era serial (between "The Oregon Trail" and "The Green Hornet") and was re-issued to theaters in 1949 by Commonwealth Pictures Corporation, a distribution set-up handling primarily Universal re-issues. Commonwealth had no hand at all in the production of this serial (as incorrectly shown on site) as they were a distribution company only. Some sources mistakenly identify them as the serial producer because all of the 1949 re-issue prints (and the 16mm prints sold to television circa 1952) show "Commonwealth Pictures Corp. Presents" above the title.There is a whole lot of difference between "presenting" and "producing", a fact that some sources appear to not know or don't care. The serial is of interest to some collectors as it re-unites Bela Lugosi and Edwin Stanley from 1931's "Dracula", and the crater-discovery of the meteorite fragment by Zorka in the serial is stock footage from Universal's 1936 "The Invisible Ray." The stock footage ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

CRASHING...SMASHING...DASHING DYNAMITE! 12 spine-shivering chapters of thunderbolt action and amazing adventure! See more »

Genres:

Action | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 January 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shadow Creeps See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes) | (edited feature film)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene in which Professor Zorka is lowered into a pit while wearing a protective suit is taken from the film _The Invisible Ray (1936)_ and it is actually Boris Karloff inside of the costume, not Bela Lugosi. See more »

Goofs

Anthony Averill and his two co-henchmen wear heavy mustaches that appear and disappear from one chapter to another, and even from one scene to another in the same chapter, #7, for example. See more »

Quotes

[after surviving a car crash, Zorka notices the hitch hiker they picked up, who looks like him, is dead.]
Dr. Alex Zorka: How fortunate, this will simplify everything!
See more »

Alternate Versions

This serial was edited down to a feature film running 78 minutes and also titled "The Phantom Creeps." See more »

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User Reviews

 
He Set Fire to the Hindenberg!
14 February 2007 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

This serial is really fun. I love the emoting of Bela Lugosi. He wants to rule the universe and, doggone it, nothing is going to stop him. There are many pitfalls along the way. One is the usual incompetent sidekick who can't follow orders worth a darn. Another is his inability to keep a low profile. He is always putting himself out there where someone is able to spoil his efforts. There are spies and government agents. His valuable meteor is stolen a couple of times but he quickly gets it back. There is one touching scene where he causes the death of his wife, but he quickly blames the government for her death. As with all serials, there are a series of cliffhanging endings to scenes and he always seems to come out unscathed. I have to admit I was actually pulling for him. The government agents are too boring to come out on top. You can't tell the spies from the government agents without a program. There is also this cool robot who suffers from the same infirmity of slow movement that seems to affect mummies in that other genre. It was interesting to see that it was Lugosi's character that caused the Hindenberg to burst into flame. He throws a little explosive dart at it from a plane. Who would have thought. Anyway, it's a lot of fun, it makes little sense, and at the end we feel a little cheated.


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