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The Shadow (1940)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 5 January 1940 (USA)
The Shadow battles a villain known as The Black Tiger, who has the power to make himself invisible and is trying to take over the world with his death ray.


James W. Horne


Joseph F. Poland (screenplay) (as Joseph Poland), Ned Dandy (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview:
Victor Jory ... Lamont Cranston - aka 'The Shadow'
Veda Ann Borg ... Margot Lane
Roger Moore ... Harry Vincent
Robert Fiske ... Stanford Marshall
John Paul Jones John Paul Jones ... Mr. Turner (as J. Paul Jones)
Jack Ingram ... Flint
Chuck Hamilton ... Roberts - Henchman
Edward Peil Sr. ... Inspector Joe Cardona
Frank LaRue ... Commissioner Ralph Weston


Columbia's 9th serial, slotted between "Overland With Kit Carson" and "Terry and the Pirates", was intended to have Lorna Gray in the role played by Veda Ann Borg, and to have been co-directed by D. Ross Lederman and Norman Deming. The credits specified the serial was "Based upon stories published in "The Shadow Magazine", while the ads proclaimed it to be "right out of the air waves and magazine stories." What appeared was a mixture of both with Lamont Cranston the true identity of The Shadow, although Lamont Cranston was only an occasional disguise of the pulp magazine Shadow. The hypnotic invisibility of the radio character was completely ignored, as was the almost invisible "Living Shadow" of the pulps.(In the serial, the only invisible man (The Black Tiger) was the villain, as even James Horne probably realized that six to ten henchmen taking orders from an invisible man was more plausible then six to ten henchman falling all over the place from unseen blows delivered by an ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WRAPPED IN MYSTERY! LOADED WITH THRILLS! (original Australia poster - all caps) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


CHAPTER TITLES: 1) The Doomed City, 2) The Shadow Attacks, 3) The Shadow's Peril, 4) In the Tiger's Lair, 5) Danger Above, 6) The Shadow's Trap, 7) Where Horror Waits, 8) The Shadow Rides the Rails, 9) The Devil in White, 10) The Underground Trap, 11) Chinatown Night, 12) Murder by Remote Control, 13) Wheels of Death, 14) The Sealed Room, 15) The Shadow's Net Closes. See more »


The Black Tiger's gang stages an attack on a telephone facility by setting a truck on fire and driving it into the "Powder House" to set off the explosives. It is never explained why a telephone company would have a Powder House on the property with their other equipment. See more »


Referenced in Get Smart: A Tale of Two Tails (1968) See more »

User Reviews

Heh, Heh, Heh...I am The Shadow...
23 June 2001 | by bsmith5552See all my reviews

"The Shadow" is a fairly routine serial based on a popular radio serial of the day. It is raised a level by the casting of Victor Jory in the title role. Jory was usually cast as a villain in westerns (both the "A" and "B" varieties), but this time gets to play the hero and get the girl.

Jory was generally better than his material and this role is no exception. He plays three different parts, that of Lamont Cranston the crusading crime fighter, Lin Chang an undercover "Chinese" gangster and of course the Shadow. Jory's rich resonant speaking voice was perfect for the Shadow character. The Lin Chang character is a little over the top and was probably included because of the popularity of Chinese screen detectives (Charlie Chan, Mr Wong etc.) at the time.

The plot is strictly "B" movie. A master criminal called The Black Tiger is trying to take over the city through his terrorist attacks led by "B" veterans Jack Ingram and Charlie King among others. The Shadow naturally foils him at every turn. The Black Tiger has the power to turn himself invisible and does so in every chapter. In true serial tradition, his identity is not revealed until the final chapter.

You can also expect to see multiple fights, explosions, car chases and hear an ear-splitting scream or two from the heroine (Veda Ann Borg) in most chapters as well. I was amazed at the number explosions, collapsed ceilings and car wrecks that Jory walks away from unscathed. But hey, we're talking Saturday Afternoon Matinees and who really cared how the hero escaped, as long as he did.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

5 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le fantôme du cirque See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(15 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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