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

Thursday, July 1, 2010


PANTHER GIRL OF THE KONGO 12 chapter Republic serial. (1955). Director: Franklin Adreon.

Jean Evans (Phyllis Coates), known as the Panther Girl because she once killed a deadly panther, and hunter Larry Sanders (Myron Healey) discover that the natives fear a giant "Devil Beast," or claw monster, that's roaming the district. Dr. Morgan (Arthur Space), a sinister chemist, is growing craw fish (similar to a lobster if a bit smaller) to giant size in an attempt to scare away the natives and leave him and his associates free to plunder a diamond mine. For 12 chapters full of rugged fisticuffs, our heroes try to take pictures of the claw monsters to convince the authorities of their existence, only to have the bad guys steal the film, set fire to the lab, and so on and so on. Larry is nearly run over by a speeding jeep, and nearly is impaled on spikes below a balcony where he's having another battle, while Jean is grabbed more than once by a monster's giant pincer. The big craw fish looks like a preening, majestic god as it rises up on its tail and waves its claws in the air. There are angry natives on the rampage as well. Coates, Healey and Space are all fine, and the fast-moving serial is a lot of fun. Great theme music, too.

Verdict: Love that lobster! ***.

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