THE MYSTERIOUS MR. M (1946)
Article 3371 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-24-2010
Posting Date: 11-6-2010
Directed by Lewis D. Collins and Vernon Keays
Featuring Edmund MacDonald, Pamela Blake, Danny Morton
What it is: Serial with science fiction elements
A professor designs a super-submarine, but enemy spies want the design. The professor is murdered, and a man long believed dead takes on the persona of the Mysterious Mr. M in order to find the various parts of the design. However, the police are on his trail… and his Mr. M persona is stolen by another person who also wants the plans and sends him phonograph records with spoken instructions. Will the plans be found… and who is the Mysterious Mr. M?
As I finish up watching this serial, I find myself musing on how few of them I watch anymore. There was a time in my series that I had so many of them on my hunt list that I think for two years a day wouldn’t go by without me having an episode of a serial to watch. However, as I move forward through time, they became less and less frequent, and I suspect it may be almost a year before I see my next serial. Though I didn’t care for them much at first, I’ve tried to grow in appreciation of them and accept them for what they are.
That being said, this one is rather humdrum. It’s saddled with a somewhat overelaborate premise, which means that a lot of the running time of each chapter is dedicated to reiterating the complicated situation. Like many Universal serials, its long on the talk and short on the action. It is a bit heavier on the fantastic content; outside of the plans for the submarine, we have a few other gadgets, and the existence of a super-hypnotic drug called Hypnotrine which makes willing slaves of people. The best part of the serial is in the next to last chapter with an extending cliffhanger involving a woman who doesn’t know how to fly piloting a plane in for a landing. I did have a little fun trying to figure out who the main culprit would be, and I got it right, too. Nevertheless, this is a fairly dull serial, and I suspect Universal thought so as well; it was their last one.