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

Sunday, March 2, 2008

FIGHTING MARINES


FIGHTING MARINES (1935). 12 chapter Mascot serial. Directed by B. Reeves Eason and Joseph Kane.

Grant Withers and Adrian Morris star as a Marine corporal and sergeant who come up against a saboteur named the Tiger Shark who works out of Halfway Island. Ann Rutherford, who is nearly unrecognizable from her gig as “Polly Benedict” in the Andy Hardy series, plays the love interest, although there ain't much romance in this serial. The Tiger Shark is after a gyro-compass [“designed to aid blind flying”] invented by Rutherford's brother. The Tiger Shark wears goggles and a black leather aviator's outfit and flies an auto-gyro – he's certainly more striking and heroic in appearance than either of the potato-headed heroes. The opening sequence with the Marines fighting pirates on Halfway Island is busy but dull, and the rest of the serial, alas, isn't much better. Aside from a well-done sequence involving a closing, crushing wall, the cliffhangers are pretty lame and there are far too many flashbacks. This is a mostly by-the-numbers serial that fails to sustain suspense even though the identity of the villain is withheld until the very end. Mascot did some pretty good serials with John Wayne as star, but Fighting Marines is a major disappointment.
Verdict: Several hours of your life that you can't get back! *1/2.

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