Friday, October 11, 2019

31 Days of Halloween - Day 11 - Movie

The Crimson Ghost, a masked villain hiding behind the face of a skull, and his henchmen set out to steal the Cyclotrone, a device which can short circuit all electrical devices the planet. His goal is to sell it to a foreign power for $1million. Continually thwarting his efforts are criminology professor, Duncan Richards and his assistant Diana Farnsworth.

Technically, the 12 -part serial, The Crimson Ghost (1946), is more of a crime story, or even an espionage thriller, and not at all a horror story, but I'm including it anyway because of the appearance of the titular character, a character so iconic that he later became the logo to the band The Misfits.

As far as the Republic serials go, this is one of the best. The villain is great, his sidekick, Ashe (future Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore) is cold blooded. The fights are spectacular brawls that rarely leave even one item of furniture intact. Diana (Linda Stirling) is no traditional secretary, she gets right in the action, shooting guns, piloting planes, jumping from cars, engaging in chases, everything. The hero (Charles Quigley) , while he has Cary Grant-like good looks, is clever, and one hell of a fighter, often delivers his lines in an odd stilted manner that pretty much reinforces the idea that he was hired more for the action scenes than the exposition.

There are some nitpicky complaints I could make, including the fact that Duncan had a huge clue as to the Crimson Ghost's identity pretty early one, that given his often demonstrated cleverness makes you wonder why he wasn't able to flush him out a lot earlier, and without compromising himself so often as the story unfolds. This one was a lot of fun.

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