The Shadow Strikes (1937)

US / 62 minutes / bw / Grand National Dir: Lynn Shores Pr: Max Alexander, Arthur Alexander Scr: Al Martin, Rex Taylor Story: The Ghost of the Manor (1933) by Maxwell Grant (i.e., Walter B. Gibson) Cine: Marcel Pickard (i.e., Marcel Le Picard) Cast: Rod La Rocque, Lynn Anders (i.e., Agnes Anderson), James Blakeley, Walter McGrail, Bill Kellogg, Cy Kendall, Kenneth Harlan, Norman Ainsley, John St. Polis, Wilson Benge, John Carnivale, James Morton, John Dilson.

I posted a while back about the dire Monogram series of The Shadow movies, and thought it might be fun to look at a couple of the character’s earlier screen incarnations. Here’s the first of two movies released in the 1930s by Grand National, with Rod La Rocque in the title role; the other was International Crime (1938), about which I’ll be posting here shortly.

Rod La Rocque as Lamont Cranston

Lamont Cranston (La Rocque), in his guise as The Shadow, interrupts a robbery in the offices of lawyer Chester Randall and calls the cops on the thieves, but fails to make himself scarce by the time the cops—Captain Breen (Harlan) and Breen’s sidekick Kelly (Morton)—turn up. To explain his presence to them he presents himself as Chester Randall.

Lynn Anders/Agnes Anderson as Marcia

Just then the phone rings. Elderly millionaire Caleb Delthern (St. Polis), Continue reading

Girl who Came Back, The (1935)

US / 67 minutes / bw / Chesterfield, First Division Dir: Charles Lamont Pr: George R. Batcheller Scr: Ewart Adamson Cine: M.A. Andersen Cast: Shirley Grey, Sidney Blackmer, Noel Madison, Mathew Betz, Torben Meyer, May Beatty, Frank LaRue, Ida Darling, Robert Adair, Edward Martindel, John Dilson, Don Brodie, Lew Davis.

Girl who Came Back - 0 opener

In New York, expert counterfeiter Gilda Gillespie (Grey) reads a line in a book that causes her to rethink her life: “It takes a tough guy to go straight.” She decides to give up her criminal career and get a—gasp!—job. But, when she goes to offer her resignation to the debonair artist-manqué head of the gang she belongs to, Hal Brewster (Madison), he goads her into doing One Last Job: robbing the safe of gem-collector Chester Madison (Martindel), a task that has defeated the ingenuity of Brewster’s henchmen, even though he counts among them genius cracksman Harry Sims (Davis).

Girl who Came Back - 2 Brewster wheedles with Gilda

Hal Brewster (Noel Madison) wheedles with Gilda (Shirley Grey).

Gilda gets the gems using a clever scam involving Continue reading

Missing Girls (1936)

US / 66 minutes / bw / Chesterfield Dir: Phil Rosen Pr: George R. Batcheller Scr: Martin Mooney, John Krafft Story: Martin Mooney Cine: M.A. Andersen Cast: Roger Pryor, Muriel Evans, Noel Madison, Sidney Blackmer, Ann Doran, Dewey Robinson, Wallis Clark, Cornelius Keefe, Ed. Keane, Oscar Apfel, Frank Sheridan, Matty Fain, George Cooper, Ben Carter, Frank LaRue, Ethel Clark, Lloyd Ingraham, Vera Lewis, Robert Fiske, Al Hill, John Dilson.Missing Gir;s 1936 - 0a openerMissing Girls 1936 - 0c opener optionMissing Girls 1936 - 0b opener option

After being struck by her father George (LaRue, no relation, so far as I can establish, of Jack La Rue, whose birth name was Gaspere Biondolillo) for going out on a date with “that Dixon boy,” Ann Jason (Doran) runs away from home and heads for the big city. There she finds work as a waitress, but when one day the boss tells her that in future she’ll be working for no wages, just tips, she turns in desperation to the Travelers Aid Society, a charity run by Dorothy Benson (Evans) to help all the unfortunate runaway women who’re seeking their fortune. Dorothy impulsively offers Ann a job as a Continue reading

Drag-Net, The (1936)

US / 62 minutes / bw / Burroughs–Tarzan Dir: Vin Moore Pr: W.N. Selig Scr: J. Mulhauser (i.e., James Mulhauser) Story: play by Willard Mack Cine: Edward Kull Cast: Rod La Rocque, Marian Nixon, Betty Compson, Jack Adair, John Dilson, Edward Keane, Donald Kerr, Joseph W. Girard, John Bantry, Ed LeSaint, Allen Mathews, Sid Payne.

The Drag-Net - hardworking social report Kit Van Buren (Nixon)

Hard-working, hard-partying social reporter Kit Van Buren (Marian Nixon).

Ne’er-do-well playboy Lawrence “Larry” Thomas Jr. (La Rocque) is turfed out of the family legal practice by his father (LeSaint) for his idleness and decadent habits. Instead he must take a job as assistant to DA Thomas J. Harrison (Girard). The night before joining the DA’s office Larry takes his society-reporter girlfriend Katherine “Kit” Van Buren (Nixon) to a dancing/gambling niterie called The Dover Club, run by notorious hoodlum Joe Ross (Adair):

Larry: Tonight we celebrate.
Kit: Celebrate? But that’s what we do five nights in a week, isn’t it?

The Drag-Net - Mollie (Compson) arrives at the Dover Club

Mollie (Betty Compson) arrives at the Dover Club.

That evening Mollie Cole (Compson) arrives to see Ross. Her husband Fred (Bantry) is doing eight years for a crime he committed with Ross and crooked shyster Arnold Crane (Dilson); Crane promised he’d Continue reading