THE DESERT HAWK (1944)
Article 5279 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by B. Reeves Eason
Featuring Gilbert Roland, Mona Maris, Ben Welden
What it is: Serial
A good caliph is secretly deposed by his evil twin brother who takes his place on the throne. However, the good brother escapes death and goes undercover as a legendary bandit known as The Desert Hawk.
You’d think a serial which flirted with Arabian Nights themes would have more fantastic content, but there are no genies or magic carpets to be found here. There is the fact that the legend of the Desert Hawk is supposed to have supernatural powers or be unkillable, but that’s not established until after we see the deposed caliph take on the persona, so we know it’s just legend. That leaves the two magicians as the main fantastic content here, and within the bounds of the story, it does appear that they have authentic powers. On its own, it’s a moderately entertaining serial, though it does have a few lying cliffhangers to contend with, and I think it would have worked better with 12 episodes instead of fifteen. Despite the setting, this is a pretty ordinary serial.