Junior G-Men (1940)

JUNIOR G-MEN (1940)
(Serial)
Article #1500 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-23-2005
Posting Date: 9-20-2005
Directed by Ford Beebe and John Rawlins
Featuring Billy Halop, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell

A group of saboteurs known as the Flaming Torches are trying to force the secret of a super explosive from a renowned scientist. They set their sights on capturing his son as a hostage. His son, however, is part of a street gang who has been contacted by the FBI in the hopes of enlisting his help to catch the Flaming Torches.

One of the main problems I have with serials is that they eventually became so formulaic that there are rarely any surprises at all in them. Because of this, I’ve come to appreciate any time they find a way to vary the formula somewhat. I still think the use of The Dead End Kids and the Little Tough Guys was a good idea for serials, since they certainly weren’t your conventional heroes, and the fact that they were often on the wrong side of the law themselves made it more understandable why they wouldn’t enlist the help of the police in their own dealings with outlaws. Still, the serials featuring them weren’t really all that good, and other than the gimmick just discussed, this is a pretty uninspired serial. The main villain is marginally interesting, but he’s still another one of those “sit-at-the-desk-and-bark-out-orders” types that I’ve seen a million times. I do wonder about the intelligence quotient of any gang that has each of its members tattoo their logo on their wrists (thereby making it very easy for the authorities to identify them). And let’s face it; the aggregation known as “The Dead End Kids and The Little Tough Guys” was one of the least interesting of the combinations; give me “The Dead End Kids”, “The East Side Kids” or “The Bowery Boys” anytime, all of which were more fun and interesting.

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