SHADOW OF THE EAGLE (1932)
Article #610 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-15-2002
Posting date: 4-11-2003
The board of directors of a corporation is being threatened by a shadowy form known as the Eagle, who they believe is an ex-World War I pilot who was also known as the Eagle in his day but who crashed and was believed dead but turned out not to be and who had also created an invention which the corporation had stolen from him but is now supporting himself by running a carnival. His stunt-fighter tries to solve the mystery with the aid of the carnival owner’s daughter, a midget, a strong man and a ventriloquist with uncanny abilities of voice imitation.
It may be my imagination, but I’m beginning to notice that there’s something utterly cheesy about any serial I’ve seen so far that came from Mascot. Despite having a fairly complex story (the above plot description blurb gives you a feel for just how convoluted the backstory is), it still spends a good amount of its running time spinning its wheels. On the plus side, it has a young John Wayne in the role of the hero/stunt pilot, and he’s a name that hasn’t popped up yet in this series of reviews. It also doesn’t suffer from cheating cliff-hangers; unfortunately, the cliff-hangers themselves aren’t particularly good. Still, the odd milieu adds a bit of fun to the proceedings, and it’s always fun to watch John Wayne.
Some serial rules:
1) If you are a criminal trying to convince the hero to do something that will cause him to fall into a trap, and he questions you on certain suspicious behaviors of yours, the best way to answer these questions is with these three magic words, “Never mind that.”
2) If crooks and heroes are fighting in a room, and the cops come in, and the crooks claim the heroes are the crooks, they will always be believed.
3) The quickest way to commit suicide in this movie is to say, “Okay, I’ll confess. I know who the Eagle is. He is …” and wait for the bang.