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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mysterious Doctor Satan (1940)

Starring Eduardo Ciannelli, Robert Wilcox, William Newell, C. Montague Shaw, Ella Neal
Directed by William Witney & John English
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

In this movie serial, Bob Wayne dons the mask of The Copperhead, passed down to him by his crime-fighting father, in order to oppose the plans of Doctor Satan, a brilliant evil scientist.

One of my favorite movie serials, and one of the best, from top serial directors Witney & English, with great stuntwork, fine music, and Ciannelli perfect as the clever and calculating villain.  The early chapters are by far the finest, but  I enjoyed hanging around through the later chapters to see the storyline play out to the final conflict in Doctor Satan's lair.  According to Wikipedia, this serial was originally intended to be an adaptation of the exploits of comic-book hero Superman, but the rights fell through.  One wonders if Ella Neal's character, a reporter named Lois, would have been Lois Lane in the original serial, and had a more substantial role- for the bulk of the serial, she's just hanging around her father's laboratory to answer the phone.

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