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

Thursday, September 8, 2011


THE FIGHTING DEVIL DOGS 12 chapter Republic serial/1938. Directed by John English and William Witney.

When virtually all the men under his command are killed in a bizarre electronic assault, Lt. Tom Grayson (Lee Powell) becomes subject of a hearing. But it isn't long before he, his buddy Lt. Corby (Herman Brix/Bruce Bennett), and the entire United States Marine Corps learn that the true culprit is a masked fiend who calls himself the Lightning. He uses an "electrical Thunderbolt" to wipe out hundreds on ships so he can loot them, and carries a portable version of the device to obliterate his personal enemies. The cliffhangers in this otherwise exciting serial are fairly routine -- cars over cliffs, conflagrations, falling beams and even sharks -- and one or two are borrowed from earlier serials. There's a minimum of suspense over the true identity of the Lightning, which comes as somewhat of a surprise. Lee Powell did mostly westerns and died only six years after this serial was released at age thirty-six. He had an appealing sensitivity, although he could do the action stuff with reasonable aplomb as well. 

Verdict: Entertaining if unspectacular cliffhanger. **1/2.


Anonymous said...

The Lightning's nasal voice ruins this one for me.

William said...

You can't win 'em all!