THE FIGHTING DEVIL DOGS (1938)
Article #866 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-29-2003
Posting Date: 12-26-2003
Directed by William Witney and John English
Featuring Lee Powell, Herman Brix, Eleanor Stewart
Two marines seek out an evil villain known as The Lightning.
Title check: Devil Dogs appear to be marines in this case. Maybe they didn’t want to call it THE FIGHTING MARINES to avoid it being confused with the 1935 serial of the same name, which this one somewhat resembles.
Republic always seems to add that extra touch of decent production values to their serials that make them more watchable than a lot of the competition; the spectacle is usually pretty good, and they know how to use music effectively. This one is pretty solid, and the electric torpedo used by The Lightning makes for a nice effect (though I have to admit, I kept thinking the villain should have been called The Lightning something-or-other rather than just The Lightning). Episode seven is another one of those annoying ones that mostly consists of footage from episode one, and I know I’ve seen the cliffhanger from episode eight in at least one other serial (a man is almost crushed in a motorboat as he tries to steer it between two ships moving close to each other), but since I can’t remember which serial that was, I don’t know if this one lifted it from that serial or vice versa. Nevertheless, it has a good variety of action and is entertaining enough; all in all, a better-than-average serial.