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

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Walter Reed
GOVERNMENT AGENTS VS PHANTOM LEGION (12 chapter Republic serial/1951). Director: Fred C. Brannon.

"I'm a dead duck anyway, so I might as well take you along. " -- Duncan to opponent with murder on his mind.

The members of a trucking association, who have government contracts to deliver important supplies, are alarmed when their trucks are attacked and hijacked, the equipment stolen. Agent Hal Duncan (Walter Reed of Flying Disc Man from Mars) is assigned to track down the perpetrators with the help of assistant Sam Bradley (John Pickard). A complication is that one of the members of the association is secretly behind the robberies, and his two main henchmen, Regan (Dick Curtis of Terry and the Pirates) and Cady (Fred Coby of The Brute Man) report to him through a two-way mirror as he sits safe and unidentified in another office. The cliffhangers in this are of the standard "missing information" variety, but they are still effective: fire engulfs a mine car full of hand grenades and nearly blows Duncan to bits; an ore dump drops its contents on top of him; his parachute lands right on the tracks in front of an onrushing train; he gets trapped in a remote-controlled runaway truck; and -- best of all -- is nearly incinerated when a stream of gasoline is ignited and rushes down the highway towards his automobile! Walter Reed is not afraid to show panic and dismay on his face during these frightening moments. The other cast members are good, although Mary Ellen Kay as the nominal heroine displays little acting skill. Stanley Wilson's exciting score is a plus. Tom Steele and Arthur Space are also in the cast.

Verdict: Fun serial ***.


Gary R. said...

I'm gonna have to seek out this serial, if only to see Walter Reed in an ultra-rare, heroic role. He must've enjoyed every minute.

Psst! The boss behind the mirror told me it's really "Phantom LEGION."

William said...

Yikes -- I haven't gotten a title wrong in quite a while (I hope). Actually this error was caused by the boss behind the mirror, who is still active and influential all these years later, LOL.

I've made the correction -- thanks for pointing it out.

Reed did at least one other serial. They are both quite entertaining.

Best, Bill