ADVENTURES OF THE FLYING CADETS (1943). 13 chapter Universal serial. Directed by Ray Taylor and Lewis D. Collins.
Johnny Downs is a troubled cadet [of the L.A. Air School]. Danny Collins, who, with some buddies, is accused of being responsible for a series of murders actually committed by The Black Hangman. The victims belonged to a group of seven men who traveled to Africa to find a cave which supposedly holds valuable elements coveted by the Germans. We learn early on that the Black Hand is actually Arthur Galt (Robert Armstrong) who feigns friendship with the boys while trying to trip them up or kill them at every turn. Although there are some exciting moments in the serial – such as an aerial descent and near-crash into a flaming crater – Adventures of the Flying Cadets is rather leisurely-paced. It was also a major mishap to reveal the villain's identity so early in the serial.
Verdict: As cliffhanger serials go, this one is pretty minor. **.