October 7th, 2007

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" inspires 1994 retrospective

In 1994, Frances Ford Coppola produced the second of his Literary Monster classics with "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." Kenneth Branagh directed and played the title role while Robert DeNiro portrayed the Creature.

This book traces the literary and cinematic influences of the man who made a monster. The book features pictures from Edison's "Frankenstein" and other famous actors wearing the neck bolts.

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Sinister Serials of Karloff, Lugosi and Chaney, Junior"

This pulpy fan boy book captures the fun and spirit of the serials. Sections are devoted to Karloff (who did few serials), Lugosi (who was the villain king of the serials) and Chaney Junior (who did a variety of serials as hero, hench man, victim and hero again. In some cases this book is far better than the serials.

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Undersea Kingdom," a forgotten, yet most influential serials of all time

Lon Chaney Junior portrayed Captain Hakur, a second in command henchman who torments Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Smiley Burnett and other assorted visitors of the Undersea Kingdom. George Lucas owes a debt of gratitude to this serial, for making weirdness so common place. Saturday Night Live's "Ambiguously Gay Duo" seems modeled after Crash Corrigan and his 12 year old protegee.

Today's preconceptions could destroy the innocence of pre World War II America, so it is best to watch this with a elementary school student.

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Shadow of Chinatown" 15 episodes of xenophobia

Bela Lugosi versus a Tarzan who was an Olympic Gold Medalist, Bruce Bennett. "Shadow of Chinatown" is a poverty row serial that lasted 15 episode. There are multiple villains who harass Bruce Bennet, his girlfriend and side kick, Willie Fu.

While it was not intentional, Lugosi's character gets involved with some slapstick on board a cruise ship. This famous Hungarian actor is supposed to be part Chinese and he hates Asians. Lugosi's character has major identity issues and is the "Shadow of Chinatown."

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"S.O.S Coastguard" is a Rebublic Serial at it's best

Bela Lugosi takes second billing to Ralph Byrd in "S.O.S. Coastguard." As Mastermind Boroff, Lugosi performs most of his scenes from his villain's underground lair. In many ways, Boroff is the prototype villain of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels; especially Doctor No and Hugo Drax. Boroff's bald henchman is the ansestor of Odd Job, Red Grant and Jaws.

This serial has some great stunts and good cliffhanger conclusions in the grand tradition of Rebublic serials.

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Bela Lugosi's last serial, "The Phanton Creeps"

In 1938, Bela Lugosi starred in his last serial, "The Phantom Creeps," produced by Universal Pictures. Despite inventing mechanical spiders and a giant robot, Lugosi hires incompetent an incompetent henchman who bungles things all the time. All that is missing in this serial is, "Curses!!!! Foiled again!!!"

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Bela Lugosi as a hero? See "The Return of Chandu"

In "Chandu the Magician," Bela Lugosi portrayed the arch villain. Two years later, "The Return of Chandu" was commissioned and Bela Lugosi played the heroic lead. Originally "The Return of Chandu" was two 6 episodes of adventures.

This is a must see for Bela Lugosi fans, for he even gets the girl in the end!