GOLDEN HANDS OF KURIGAL (1966)
Feature Version of Serial FEDERAL AGENTS VS. UNDERWORLD INC.
Article 1987 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-23-2006
Posting Date: 1-20-2007
Directed by Fred C. Brannon
Featuring Kirk Alyn, Rosemary La Planche, Carol Forman
When an ancient relic is unearthed in the country of Abistahn, an evil woman plans to use the item to build an underworld organization. However, Federal Agent David Worth is out to stop her.
I didn’t care much for this serial when it was a serial, and I still have little use for it in this form. It did make me realize something, though, and that is if there is any particular cinematic form that I honestly wish had given in to over-the-top hammy acting styles, the serial would be the one I’d choose. At least one of the reasons THE LOST CITY remains a favorite is that it does engage in that hammy melodramatic mode. I feel that serials all too often went in the opposite direction; when it comes to the acting, I find most of them extremely bland and colorless. It really doesn’t matter when other aspects are done with verve and pizzazz; one of Republic’s warehouse-busting fight scenes can add a lot to the fun. But those had vanished by the time this one was made, and almost every actor here seems bored; even Ray Barcroft, who I usually like but is here consigned to a henchman role, performs the part by adding little more than a dour grumpiness to the proceedings. The only actor who seems really interested in the proceedings is James Craven, who, as Professor Clayton, appears only at the beginning and the end of the story. I suppose action fans don’t mind as long as there’s action, but for me, the action isn’t really all that interesting unless the characters and situations make it interesting, or if the action scenes are particularly well staged; if they’re not, I find them potentially as dull as scenes of people having long conversations while standing stock still. And as far as feature versions of serials go, this one is as clumsy and abrupt as the worst of them.