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

Friday, April 1, 2011

SHE-SERPENTS VS THE FORCES OF THE DRAGON WITCH


SHE-SERPENTS VS THE FORCES OF THE DRAGON WITCH 12 chapter Mascot serial. (1938). Director: Bebe Ford. It is not widely known that during her early career Bette Davis actually starred in a serial for Mascot studios. She plays Mona Flare, the leader of an all-girl gang of crime-fighters who are out to stop the violent antics of a mysterious woman known only as the Dragon Witch. Mona and her "she-serpents" wear slinky outfits that make them resemble slithering snakes. The nominal hero of the film is Bob Steele, who plays a detective, Guinan, who wishes the ladies would lay off and let him handle the Dragon Witch and her sinister forces. Of course Guinan has to be rescued by the women in virtually every chapter. Davis seems to be having a lot of fun, and there are clever stunts and some exciting sequences. The final chapter has a major fight between Mona and the Dragon Witch in which even the walls come tumbling down. Miriam Hopkins also appears as an aggressive reporter who may or may not know more about the Dragon Queen than she's saying. Verdict: Bette rules the roost! **1/2.

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