THE CLUTCHING HAND (1936)
(a.k.a. THE AMAZING EXPLOITS OF THE CLUTCHING HAND)
Article #722 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-7-2003
Posting Date: 8-4-2003
Directed by Albert Herman
Featuring Jack Mulhall, Rex Lease, Mae Busch
An archfiend known as the Clutching Hand is after a gold formula.
This creaky, confusing serial may well give you a headache trying to sort out the characters and the plot; I started to get lost halfway through the first episode, and that’s not a good sign. I spent the first eight or nine episodes in a confused haze, though things cleared up a little during a sequence aboard a boat, which has one hilarious fight scene involving several crewmen being denied shore leave, and for a while I was able to grab a thread of the plot, but it didn’t last long. That’s the problem when you have too many characters, none of which have been sharply delineated from the others, all with conflicting loyalties and dressed in similar three-piece suits. After a while it all reduces itself to large groups of people flailing at each other with their fists. Actually, the ending is pretty good, but it’s a long, bumpy ride there. If anything, I’ve come out of this one with an appreciation for the relative straightforwardness of the Columbia serials I’ve seen. The word for this one is inco-hokey-herent.