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

Thursday, August 30, 2018


Larry Thompson and Helen Talbot
KING OF THE FOREST RANGERS (12 chapter Republic serial/1946). Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet; Fred C. Brannon.

Professor Carver (Stuart Hamblen) discovers that there might be a treasure in the woods when he discovers an old Indian rug and a transparent map that can be fitted over it. He begins to buy up the property of the people in the woods, and uses force if they don't comply. His chief enforcer is the utterly nasty Spear (Anthony Warde), who isn't above killing and torturing anyone who gets in his way. Chief among his opponents are good guy Steve King (Larry Thompson) of the Forest Rangers and his staff, as well as the pretty and feisty Marion (Helen Talbot), who is handy with a pistol. The fisticuffs in this serial are amazing, with a let's-smash-all-the-furniture fight scene at least twice in every exciting episode, all ably choreographed by Tom Steele, who also plays one of the bad guys. Notable cliffhangers include: King engulfed in flames in an old cellar; a fight on a plane that ends in a crash; a platform of spikes crashing down on King; Marion about to be fed via conveyor belt into a pulp grinder; and King and Marion trapped in a pit where Spear and his cohorts throw flaming branches down at them, causing a conflagration. Larry Thompson is a likable and efficient hero; Helen Talbot is an attractive and equally likable second lead; and Anthony Warde [Roaring City] is completely convincing as the truly evil and loathsome Spear. Mort Glickman [King of the Mounties] has contributed some memorable theme music. This was really the only lead role for Larry Thompson, who did mostly uncredited small parts in various features.

Verdict: Really snappy and fast-paced Republic serial. ***. 

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