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

Monday, August 18, 2008

THE INVISIBLE AVENGER



THE INVISIBLE AVENGER (1958). Directed by James Wong Howe and John Sledge.

Richard Derr plays the famous Shadow, aka Lamont Cranston, in this pretty much lost curiosity which was one of the few films (co-) directed by famous cinematographer James Wong Howe. The story line has The Shadow getting involved with South American revolutionaries, an exiled King, and his evil lookalike brother, as well as various hoodlums. Reportedly this was originally the pilot for a possible Shadow TV series which received a theatrical release instead, and on the production level it does resemble a TV show. Throughout much of the movie Cranston is accompanied by a man named Jogendra (Mark Daniels), who is his teacher (even though Daniels doesn't seem much older than Derr). The Shadow is able to hypnotize people into thinking he's disappeared, effectively making himself an "invisible" avenger. There's some eerie music and a fair amount of atmosphere, but this is largely forgettable. It's unlikely that the resultant TV series would have amounted to much.

Verdict: Make like a shadow and disappear. *1/2.

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