|The Scarab (Lionel Atwill) vs Captain America (Dick Purcell)|
"A shocking exhibition of barbarism!" -- Cyrus Maldor.
District Attorney Grant Gardner (Dick Purcell) is secretly -- actually, not so secretly -- the famous costumed hero Captain America. His adversary, as we know from the first, is the Scarab, who is -- very secretly, except to the audience -- Cyrus Maldor (Lionel Atwill). Maldor first kills off members of an expedition who know too much via a poison known as the Purple Death. He has his men steal a destructive device that brings down a building; uses a scientist's secret of perpetual life to bring one of his henchmen back from the dead; and employs a "Singari blow-gun" to kill off another of his enemies. Later he tries to get a portion of a map that will lead him to a secret city and its treasures. Highlights of this exciting serial include the aforementioned building collapse in chapter one; a bit with a guillotine in chapter five; and a sequence when our hero is nearly crushed by a mine car hurtling down a shaft in chapter six, Another interesting scene has the Scarab brutally whipping John Hamilton, the "chief" from Adventures of Superman. Purcell [Brides are Like That] is quite suitable as Captain America/Grant Gardner; pretty Lorna Gray makes less impression in this than she did in The Perils of Nyoka; and Atwill [The Devil is a Woman], in his classy, elegant and utterly evil performance as Maldor, positively walks off with the picture; his underplaying makes him that much more effective. Jay Novello also registers in his brief turn as a thug. The fight scenes in this are furious and frenetic and very well-done. In the comic books Captain America was a soldier named Steve Rogers, not a D.A. I find this serial a lot more entertaining than the recent movies about this character such as Captain America The First Avenger.
Verdict: Delightful Republic cliffhanger. ***1/2.