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

Thursday, July 4, 2013


One good-lookin' mountie: Allan Lane as Sgt. King

KING OF THE MOUNTIES (12 chapter Republic serial/1942). Director: William Witney.

In this sequel to King of the Royal Mounted, Sgt. Dave King (again Allan Lane) and his cohorts are up against a triumvirate of Axis baddies: Admiral Yamata (Abner Biberman) of Japan; Marshal von Horst (William Marshall) of Germany; and Count Baroni of Italy (Nestor Paiva of Tarantula). This gruesome threesome is behind numerous deadly acts of sabotage on Canadian soil, targeting such as oil fields, munition factories and the like, and employing such devices as a spiffy-looking flying Falcon ship. They use an active volcano [!] as their headquarters. Their plans for an Axis invasion of Canada are threatened by an invention called the Brent Airplane Detector; when the inventor is killed, his daughter Carol (Peggy Drake) carries on in his efforts to keep the device out of the determined enemies' hands. The three main bad guys are aided in their efforts by the traitor Harper (Douglass Dumbrille) and his associate Pierre (Duncan Renaldo). The wonderful Jay Novello shows up in a beard and engages in some of the lively fisticuffs that are sprinkled all through the serial. King makes some amazing death-defying leaps as well. Highlights include the remote control torpedo hidden beneath a phony haystack, and King's fight with a Japanese soldier in the cockpit of an out-of-control spitfire. Mort Glickman's music is also effective. This is a bit better than King of the Royal Mounted due to its somewhat more interesting storyline. Director Witney keeps things moving and at a high-excitement level throughout. NOTE: Much of the sound and some of the picture of this serial have been lost. You can find cheap copies of this with the missing parts, or buy a more expensive DVD from Serial Squadron which adds sub-titles to the parts without a soundtrack.

Verdict: Snappy stuff. ***.

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