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

Thursday, July 14, 2011


THE VIGILANTE (15 chapter Columbia serial/1947.) Director: Wallace Fox.

"These days all you've got to do is take a good-looking guy, give him a hat, black boots and a white horse and you've got a star."

The Vigilante, a super-hero who appeared in Action Comics in the 1940's, gets the serial treatment in this cliffhanger from Columbia. Greg Sanders (Ralph Byrd of the Dick Tracy movies and serials) is a cowboy hero in the movies by day, and the roving action hero Vigilante by night. The plot has to do with a herd of beautiful horses and the curse of the "tears of blood" -- referring to pearls that are secreted in their horseshoes.The mysterious "X-1," whose identity is no surprise and who operates out of a nightclub, wants the horses and the pearls and will kill anyone who gets in his way. Byrd is good, Lyle Talbot is Lyle Talbot, Ramsay Ames (The Mummy's Ghost; Calling Dr. Death) is better than usual as the nominal heroine, and George Offerman Jr. makes for a very amiable sidekick, Stuff. Offerman had small roles in the serials The Master Key and Batman and Robin, and appeared in a great many movies, mostly uncredited. The Vigilante even has a couple of pleasant song numbers but, unfortunately, most of its cliffhangers are very prosaic.

Verdict: Entertaining in spite of itself. **1/2.

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