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

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Our hero snoozes with the rest of the audience
MAN WITH THE STEEL WHIP (12 chapter Republic serial/1954). Director: Franklin Adreon.

In the old west, a man named Barnett (Mauritz Hugo) has discovered that there is gold on an Indian reservation, and wants both the natives and nearby ranchers to get out of the area. His chief opponent is Jerry Randell (Dick Simmons), who dresses up for no good reason as the legendary "El Latigo," whom he thinks the Indians will respect. Barnett is aided in his nefarious plans by Crane (Dale Van Sickel) and the ugly Indian Tosco (Lane Bradford of Zombies of the Stratosphere). Jerry gets tea and sympathy and some solid help as well from pretty school teacher, Nancy Cooper (Barbara Bestar of Safari Drums). A runaway wagon goes over a cliff in at least two episodes. Man with the Steel Whip is, as usual, a fast-paced and slick Republic production, but this has an especially dull premise, a villain that is just as colorless as the hero, and only one memorable cliffhanger. The acting is at least professional. The best thing about the serial is R. Dale Butts' theme music. Roy Barcroft [Don Daredevil Rides Again] is the sheriff and Tom Steele a henchman.

Verdict: One of the last and lesser Republic serials. **.

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