Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


THE MASTER KEY 13 chapter Universal serial (1945). Directed by Ray Taylor and Lewis D. Collins.

Professor Elwood Henderson (Byron Foulger) is kidnapped by the Master Key, a mysterious character who heads a group of Nazis hoping to cause mischief and keep the U.S. out of the war in 1938. Henderson has invented a device called an oratron that can extract gold from sea water. Among those hoping to find Henderson are agent Tom Brant (Milburn Stone), Detective Lt. Jack Ryan (Dennis Moore), and intrepid reporter Janet Lowe (Jan Wiley), whose half brother Walter Stark (John Eldredge) becomes unwittingly embroiled with the Master Key's gang. There's also an old woman named Aggie (Sarah Padden), who leads a group of boy junior reporters, which includes Dan (Jerry Shane). There are some interesting cliffhangers involving a drawbridge, and a flying boat crashing into the ocean, among others. The cast is game, with Foulger giving the most memorable performance as the professor. The surprise identity of the Master Key seems to come out of nowhere!

Verdict: Not top-notch but has its exciting passages. **1/2.

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