THE GREEN HORNET (1940)
Article 1912 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-9-2006
Posting Date: 11-6-2006
Directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor
Featuring Gordon Jones, Wade Boteler, Anne Nagel
A newspaper publisher takes on the persona of The Green Hornet, a person who seems to be a criminal but is really intent on uncovering a crime syndicate.
You know, this isn’t a bad serial, and I recall rather liking the sequel, THE GREEN HORNET STRIKES AGAIN. However, as a follow-up serial to the superior JUNGLE GIRL , I’m afraid I can only notice how ordinary it is. Outside of the hero, the most memorable characters are his Korean servant and his bodyguard, a feisty Irishman. Pretty much everyone else is pretty forgettable, including the villain, who is one of those types that keeps out of action until the last episode, and mostly barks out orders to anonymous henchmen from behind a desk. The plot is also pretty repetitive; The Green Hornet investigates a specific racket, gets in peril, escapes, threatens a crook to try to get him to reveal the leader, and the crook either gets away, knows nothing, or dies, and The Green Hornet moves on to the next racket. The science fiction elements are the same as the later serial; the Hornet’s special gun and the really fast buzzing car. I’ve also noticed that Columbia is less likely to rely on cheating cliffhangers as much as Republic; unfortunately, Columbia relies on something even less interesting, the incredibly resilient hero who just luckily happens to survive every cliffhanger. I do have one piece of advice for The Green Hornet, though; since a few of the cliffhangers have to do with him almost being killed by his own bodyguard, I think it would behoove him to tell the bodyguard about his secret identity. Just a thought…