(directors: Ford Beebe/Alan James; screenwriters: Norman S. Hall/Ray Trampe/Will Gould-comic strip; cinematographer: Jerome Ash; editors: Louis Sackin/Alvin Todd/Saul A. Goodkind; cast: Buster Crabbe (Red Barry), Frances Robinson (Mississippi), Edna Sedgewick (Natacha), Syril Delevanti(Wing Fu), Wade Boteler (Inspector Scott), Frank Lackteen(Quong Lee), Hugh Huntley(Valentine Vane), Charles Stevens (Capt. Moy),Wheeler Oakman (Weaver),Earle Douglas (Igor), William Gould (Police Commissioner), Philip Ahn (Hong Kong Charlie), Guy Usher (General Fang), James Blaine (Sinclair – Plane Manufacturer), William Ruhl (C.E. Mannix), Eric Wilton (Tubbs, Vane’s Butler); Runtime: 30; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Barney A. Sarecky; Universal Pictures/VCI Entertainment; 1938-B/W)
“If you are nostalgia driven by the old-fashioned b/w serials that once played regularly in the neighborhood movie houses, you should like this better than average one.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
I reviewed only chapter 3 of Will Gould’s popular comic strip. The 13-episode (running 256 minutes) action-packed Universal serial thriller starred crack NYC detective Red Barry (Buster Crabbe). Veteran B-film co-directors Ford Beebe (“The Lion Hunters”) and Alan James (Trigger Smith”) follow the serial cliffhanger formula to a T.
The script is written by Norman S. Hall and Ray Trampe without missing a beat to end the 30-minute chapters by having the hero in grave danger– in one case he falls down a trap door in the floor while chasing the bad guys and has to stave off an attacking lion.In NYC $2,000,000 worth of bonds are brought into the country by the mysterious Oriental Chinatown importer and shop owner Wing Fu (Syril Delevanti) to buy war planes for war-torn China, but they are stolen by the Eurasian crime boss Quong Lee (Frank Lackteen). However the grizzled NYC Detective Red Barry gets them back. In chapter 3, they are stolen again by the Russian ballerina Natacha (Edna Sedgewick) and the ruthless gang of Russians behind her. Red teams up with feisty young Daily Press reporter Mississippi (Frances Robinson) and forms an uneasy partnership with the comical inept criminologist Vane (Hugh Huntley) to regain the bonds in chapter 4.
If you are nostalgia driven by the old-fashioned b/w serials that once played regularly in the neighborhood movie houses, you should like this better than average one for its lively action sequences rather than its awkward plot.
REVIEWED ON 3/27/2018 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/