Radar Secret Service (1950)

Article 2722 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-19-2008
Posting Date: 1-25-2009
Directed by Sam Newfield
Featuring John Howard, Adele Jergens, Tom Neal
Country: USA

Uranium is stolen by hoodlums. Fortunately, G-Men have radar on their side to catch them.

This movie finally inspired me to put a label on a phenomenon I’ve noticed in a number of movies through the years. I call it the Free-Floating-Inviso-Cam (with optional instant editing), FFIC for short. This invisible item floats around at will, taking film-quality footage that can be used by someone’s viewfinder. It’s used in serials quite a bit; think of how many times you’ve seen a villain turn on a display that allows him to spy on what the hero is doing, apparently getting footage from some place where no camera could possibly be. And, if it switches back and forth between close-ups and long shots, or jumps to other locations, well, that’s where the optional instant editing comes into play.

At any rate, that’s one of the powers of radar in this rather silly low-budget crime movie; with radar, they can locate the villains (using FFIC), and they can even get the license numbers without having a vehicle nowhere near. It can also locate guns buried in the sand. The only drawback is that the good guys have to drive around in cars with silver balls on top of them.

If you were to check the rating on IMDB (1.7), you might think this one is a stinker of the first order. Well, it’s not quite that; the reason the rating is so low is that the movie’s only claim to fame in recent years was as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a circumstance which almost guarantees that fans of the show will flock to IMDB and give the movie the lowest rating imaginable. Though the movie is far from good, it’s not quite that bad; it is, however, so obscure that it has precious few defenders. I find there’s a little enjoyment in seeing some familiar b-movie faces and names, such as Adele Jergens, John Howard (one-time Bulldog Drummond), Tom Neal (of DETOUR fame), Sid Melton (who might has well have the words “comic relief” tattooed across his forehead), Ralph Byrd (one-time Dick Tracy who even manages to make a reference to that character in this movie), Tristram Coffin and Kenne Duncan. The fantastic content is the obviously inflated powers they give to radar.



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