Movie Lover: Clifford Weimer
Sacramento, CA US
-- November, 14, 2004
The first chapter of this serial is definitely the highlight, as Clyde Beatty's jealous assistant Sharkey (Warner Richmond) tries to kill him by letting an untrained, savage lion into Clyde's training area. Hey, Clyde eats untrained, savage lions for breakfast, so to speak, and soon has the lion juggling bowling pins while it balances on a tightrope and whistles "Camptown Races". Metaphorically speaking.
Anyway, things happen fast, so strap yourselves in. Clyde's girlfriend Ruth (Cecelia Parker) accompanies her father, a sea captain, and his crew in search of a lost island full of treasure. Well, they find it, all right, but the island - which was once part of a giant trans-world land mass that apparently included North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Patterson, New Jersey, is home to wild lions, tigers, bears, three-toed sloths, gorillas, goats, alligators, and sex-crazed scooter stingers, all of which will kill ya quick as look at ya.
Clyde, his pal Larry (Syd Saylor, who is terrible), and Sharkey the Jealous Assistant take a dirigible cruise, and the dirigible crashes on the same lost island. Lucky for everybody, because Clyde has a "hypnotic stare" that can glare down animals and force them to his bidding. Talk about your game face. After 12 chapters of running around willy-nilly, the treasure is in hand and they all live happily ever after.
Clyde Beatty was no actor, but he looked really good in jodhpurs, and how many people can you say that about? The cast is very interesting, especially if you love the Andy Hardy pictures, as Mickey Rooney has a bit part (chewing the scenery something fierce) in the first episode, and Cecilia Parker (Ruth) played Andy's big sister in the series.
Special mention must be made of the "lost city" that's in a big cavern on the island. It's actually a "lost house", and it appears to be made of stucco and drywall with metal doors with rivets in them. I mean, it is unlike any "lost temple" you've ever seen; it seems more like an abandoned haunted house in an Our Gang film, right down to the cobweb-covered chandelier. Of course, it DOES have an alligator pit full of hungry gators (who nearly, but alas do not, chew up Syd Saylor). It also has a killer gorilla roaming about, and if you watch National Geographic specials or GORILLAS IN THE MIST and you think the great apes are benign, peaceful fellows, well, forget it. This one isn't, but I suspect that he must have a thorn in his paw or hemorrhoids or something. Or maybe he just caught a glimpse of Saylor's act and he's enraged. In any case, although the ape is unbilled, I suspect he's Charles Gemora, for no reason other than he looks like Charles Gemora, and I mean that in a professional way, so if any of Mr. Gemora's descendents are reading this, please don?t think ill of me.
This is a fun serial, Mr. Saylor notwithstanding, the Alpha print is pretty good, and while there are a lot of better serials available on DVD, you'd be hard pressed to find a better one with a leading man who can stare down tigers.
Enjoyable old serial; very good film to dvd quality
Movie Lover: kinovend
Grand Rapids, MI US
-- February, 15, 2004
Here's an old Mascot Studios serial from the mid 1930's. Plenty of action involving the lions, tigers and bears with some occasional comic relief. There's a sweaty / gritty feel to some of the action which I liked. Mr. Beatty's acting abilities are not over taxed. The film master was in very good condition and the quality of the picture and audio on the DVD are quite good.