The title of this garrulous and uninvolving retread set largely in New Orleans of the radio character popularized in the thirties by Orson Welles may be vaguely familiar to some from its presence as a rather mysterious footnote to the illustrious filmography of the Oscar-winning cameraman James Wong Howe. Howe directed one feature film, 'Go, Man, Go!' (1954), with the Harlem Globetrotters, and between his Oscars for 'The Rose Tattoo' (1955) and 'Hud' (1963) directed a few TV episodes, of which this may have been his first. Assembled from two unsold pilot episodes for a TV series (of which only one was directed by Howe, hence the joint credit) which were spliced together under the intriguing title 'Invisible Avenger' and released as a feature film, it thus finds itself by default among Howe's film credits.
The drab photography, however, belies Howe's contribution; and as an avowed stickler for realism I hope he wasn't responsible for the multiple set-ups employed on the public execution shown being screened on American television. Apart from the "Daddy O" jazz talk and the topical storyline about revolutionaries plotting against a Latin American dictatorship, it feels more like a Republic serial from the forties. Using his radio name of Lamont Cranston, the Shadow hangs out with a mystic sidekick named Jogendra who's taught him how to think himself invisible (hence the title), but rather than simply prowling about invisible he usually waits until he gets caught so he can then confound his captors by disappearing; sometimes for effect he casts a shadow only, and he only ever emits his trademark diabolical cackle when invisible.
Although billed third and cutting a striking figure as a hard-boiled nightclub hostess, Helen Westcott's role proves surprisingly irrelevant to the action.
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