Monday, October 4, 2010

Captain America serial (1944)

Yes, it's the Captain America of the comics, but only in regards to the suit (and even then it's missing the wings on the mask). Instead of a super soldier fighting Nazi's, here we have a district attorney fighting the Scarab, who is killing off the members of an archaeological expedition using a gas that leaves purple blotches.

Starring Dick Purcell as the Captain and Lionel Atwill as the Scarab, this is a neat little serial. Neat as in fun, not in regards to story. Well acted and well filmed, the story is a complete nonsensical mess. Nothing makes any real sense; your brain will go into knots if you try to take it seriously, even on its own terms. Mostly you watch it because of the cast having such a great time, and because the action is some of the best in any serial. The action scenes are huge explosions of chaos that seem bigger and more dangerous then almost any other chapter play. Usually they end in wild cliffhangers that are so daunting that the only way for the hero to escape is for the filmmakers to cheat.

And cheat they do.

There is a reason that the documentaries I've seen on serials use footage from this film to illustrate how the serials cheated; almost every cliffhanger involves a cheat. Even though it makes no sense and the cliffhangers cheat, this is still a blast to watch.

This is something to put on when you want some mindless (and wholesome) action. Recommended.

Currently out on DVD.

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