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

Thursday, November 22, 2018


Rod La Rocque, supposedly playing the Shadow
INTERNATIONAL CRIME (1938). Director: Charles Lamont.

This is the second of two films, following The Shadow Strikes, in which Rod La Rocque plays the pulp character, Lamont Cranston, aka the Shadow. Or rather he plays a pallid imitation of the Shadow. In this Lamont Cranston is not a costumed adventurer with the power to cloud men's minds, but merely a dull, rather obnoxious criminologist who writes a column and broadcasts a radio show in which he spends much of his time making fun of the alleged ineptitude of Commissioner Weston (Thomas E. Jackson). Instead of Margo Lane, we get the equally obnoxious Phoebe Lane (Astrid Allwyn of Love Takes Flight), a dilettante who got a job as a reporter only because her uncle owns the paper. The scenes of Lamont and Phoebe dickering are meant to be cute, but are merely tedious beyond measure.

Astrid Allwyn and Rod La Roicque
The plot of the film, such as it is, has to do with Phoebe hearing of a robbery that's going to take place at a theater. This turns out to be a subterfuge so that a wealthy man can be murdered by a bomb that explodes when he opens his safe. A notorious safe cracker named "Honest" John (William Pawley) is a suspect, along with the dead man's brother, Roger (John St. Polis of On the Spot). Then there are two shady characters named Flotow (Wilhelm von Brincken) and Starkhov (Tenen Holtz), whom Cranston and Phoebe encounter in a nightclub. By the time the film is over, the average viewer won't give a damn about whoever murdered Roger's poor brother. There are two minor laughs at the end of the film, and absolutely no suspense or excitement. Released by Grand National Pictures.

Verdict: One can only imagine what the millions of Shadow fans thought about this mess. *.  


angelman66 said...

Ah, so this is the famous Rod LaRoque! Have yet to see him in a film!

William said...

He was big stuff back in the silent era, although not quite on the Valentino level. Bad casting for The Shadow, alas.