The Iron Claw (1941)

Article 2426 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-18-2007
Posting Date: 4-3-2008
Directed by James V. Horne
Featuring Charles Quigley, Joyce Bryant, Forrest Taylor

A treasure from an old Spanish galleon is the goal of various members of the Benson family as well as a gang of thieves. One of these people doubles as a caped and masked villain (with an iron claw for a hand) called The Iron Claw. Who is it? Two reporters and a comic-relief cop try to find out.

The opening scenes of this mystery serial are so confusing that it really started off on the wrong foot for me, and, in general, I don’t care much for mystery serials, as I don’t think the form really lends itself to mysteries very well. After a while, though, this one began to win me over, largely thanks to the fact that it takes a somewhat campy, over-the-top approach to its thrills, and I found this a relief from most of the other serials I’ve seen recently, most of which have been latter-day Republic serials (after they abandoned the warehouse-wrecking fights and settled for blandness). The Iron Claw himself represents the horror content here; he’s your typical masked villain with a gimmick. The heroine screams a lot, the reporter’s photographer buddy Flash gets beat up a lot, and I’ll never understand why the police department chooses to send out its comic relief cops to solve these cases. At least they keep the bail-out cliffhanger resolutions to a minimum.


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