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Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 28 March 1941 (USA)
To protect a magic talisman from being used for evil, a teenage boy named Billy Batson is given the power to become an adult superhero, Captain Marvel, with a single magic word: "Shazam!"

Writers:

Ronald Davidson (original screenplay), Norman S. Hall (original screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Tyler ... Captain Marvel
Frank Coghlan Jr. ... Billy Batson
William 'Billy' Benedict ... Whitey Murphy (as William Benedict)
Louise Currie ... Betty Wallace
Robert Strange ... John Malcolm
Harry Worth ... Prof. Luther Bentley
Bryant Washburn ... Henry Carlyle [Ch. 1-3]
John Davidson ... Tal Chotali
George Pembroke George Pembroke ... Dr. Stephen Lang [Ch. 1-9]
George Lynn ... Prof. Dwight Fisher [Ch. 1-6] (as Peter George Lynn)
Reed Hadley ... Rahman Bar [Ch. 1, 11-12]
Jack Mulhall ... James Howell [Ch. 1]
Kenne Duncan ... Barnett - Chief Henchman [Ch. 2-10] (as Kenneth Duncan)
Nigel De Brulier ... Shazam [Ch. 1]
John Bagni John Bagni ... Cowan - Henchman [Ch. 2-10]
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Storyline

On a scientific expedition to Siam young Billy Batson is given the ability to change himself into the super-powered Captain Marvel by the wizard Shazam, who tells him his powers will last only as long as the Golden Scorpion idol is threatened. Finding the idol, the scientists realize it could be the most powerful weapon in the world and remove the lenses that energize it, distributing them among themselves so that no one would be able to use the idol by himself. Back in the US, Billy Batson, as Captain Marvel, wages a battle against an evil, hooded figure, the Scorpion, who hopes to accumulate all five lenses, thereby gaining control of the super-powerful weapon. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN CARTOONLAND BECOMES THE STRONGEST MAN ON THE SCREEN! All others pale in the light of this human fortress who finds no barrier too great in his amazing fight for justice. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Return of Captain Marvel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$145,588 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The Golden Scorpion weapon featured in this serial would be reintroduced in Captain Marvel's 1990 series, "The Power of Shazam!" See more »

Goofs

In chapter 11, "Valley of Death" one of the tribesmen uses a signal mirror to communicate with another. He flicks it up and down, but the reflection hits the other in a side-to-side motion. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[sound of a huge gong omninously echoes down the valley]
Billy Batson: What's that, Mr. Howell?
Howell [Ch. 1]: I don't know, Billy - let's find out. What do you make of that cymbal, Malcolm?
John Malcolm: I don't know, Howell. Does it mean anything to you, Tal Chotali?
Tal Chotali: The men of the hills are gathering. The cymbal says that the white men are to be driven from the Valley of Tombs.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Scorpion as Himself See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mad: Fantastic Megan Fox/Mad vs. Wild (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A MARVELous Adventure!
1 February 2012 | by onediscoverySee all my reviews

I watched this online by accident looking for another film and stumbled across this film instead. I said to myself as to what type of a superhero movie they could make back in 1941. I decided I'll watch it to get a couple of laughs at their attempt to make one, knowing the limitations in cinema during the 1940's than compared with what we have today. Needless to say, I was quite impressed by what was done. It was truly a marvel to watch how much thought was considered in the production of this film.

The good writing along with some subtle twist of plots and cliff hangers on each of the 12 segments, were done in such a way to hold an audience interest. The flying scenes were more than adequate to fool an audience(kids), even if we could see a pulley line used in a few instances(in fact a pulley was used as part of the story for the characters within a scene, probably the same one in filming the visual effects, a little irony). The thought of miniature models for special effects by the Lydecker Brothers production of cars and volcanoes, were done so cleverly with different camera angle shots, it just demonstrated that they were really ahead of their time.

Even if the same plot device was constantly repeated, this was so Billy wouldn't be recognized when he turned into Captain Marvel, it fitted the limitations of a 1941 film of a superhero movie. I enjoyed the fact this was made a serious tone for the most part, there were no real attempts to be funny from the villain or his henchman. Captain Marvel in his role here was strictly business. He rarely talked much, and was quite brutal in fighting, throwing men around without much a blink of an eye of their fate.It was also unusual towards the end of the serial did a character asked him to identify who he was.

Of course, the characters speech rhythm, its story pace and a few comical character stunts are present of this films' era, but it doesn't detract from their attempt for a good production. I would go on to say I prefer this over Daredevil, both HULK movies(although the last one was better), the Ghost Riders series, who have far superior cinema technology for them to make a better superhero film.

I recommend it for anyone who enjoys old films, the superhero genre, and curious how films like this were created, to go seek the time and view this serial picture.


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