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

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


HAUNTED GOLD (1932). Director: Mack V. Wright.

John Mason (John Wayne) and Janet Carter (Sheila Terry) become involved in some skulduggery surrounding an old mansion and lost gold in a mine that belonged to their fathers. A mysterious figure called The Phantom is running around (rather aimlessly, it seems) wearing a black cloak and hood. There are actually some exciting chase scenes, fisticuffs, and a well-handled battle between Wayne and a villain as they hover high in the air in a dangling mining car. Running less than an hour, this is like some kind of extremely short serial. Mason's clever horse Duke plays himself. Arguably the most talented cast member is Blue Washington, who plays Mason's black chum Clarence. Although forced by the script to play the stereotypical, scared, wide-eyed "negro," Clarence is actually smart and manages to save Mason at one point, and Washington is a very good actor. Wayne appeared in a number of legitimate cliffhanger serials, including The Three Musketeers.

Verdict: More entertaining than it has any right to be.

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