The Black Widow (1947)

Article #1242 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-8-2004
Posting Date: 1-5-2005
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Fred C. Brannon
Featuring Bruce Edwards, Virginia Lee, Carol Forman

A mystery writer is called on to investigate a series of deaths of noted scientists, and he attempts to track down a villainess known as the Black Widow.

Yes, it’s another Republic serial, and it’s another good one. Though I’m not keen on serials in particular, I do like how Republic handled them; they have a good sense of fun and well-staged fight scenes. By the late forties, they had also reduced the length of the episodes; except for the twenty-minute first episode, the lengths of the rest are in the thirteen to fourteen minute range. I felt this was the ideal length, since longer episodes feel more padded and my patience starts to waver. There is lots of scientific gadgetry in this one, including a teleportation machine, though I am left wondering how a culture with the scientific smarts to come up with that gizmo still needs to steal our secrets for an atomic missile. This one is thirteen episodes rather than the standard twelve, and I found myself wondering if the length of the serial was changed in mid-production, since one episode consists almost entirely of footage from other episodes. Still, this one is pretty good.


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