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  • Manhunt of Mystery Island/ 15 Episode [VHS]
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Manhunt of Mystery Island/ 15 Episode [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Bailey, Linda Stirling, Roy Barcroft, Kenne Duncan, Forrest Taylor
  • Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Wallace Grissell, Yakima Canutt
  • Writers: Alan James, Albert DeMond, Basil Dickey, Grant Nelson, Jesse Duffy
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 2
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • VHS Release Date: July 18, 1995
  • Run Time: 219 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302610605
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,256 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

VHS

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
A ton O' fun and a nice transfer.
Spencer G. Gill III
He just wasn’t the heroic leading man like, say Clayton Moore.
Virginia E. Johnson
Love seeing those platform shoes!
Robert F.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Paul M. Dellinger on September 4, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Richard Bailey didn't cut the most heroic figure among Republic's serial heroes, and his voice sounds a tad on the sissy side. But he was built like stuntman Tom Steele which is what counts, because Steele made his character look like quite a battler. Even so, heroine Linda Stirling saves the life of Bailey's criminologist character about as many times as vice versa in this exciting chapter-play, about one of a group of suspects on an island who has developed a Frankenstein-like spark-throwing transformation machine which can literally turn him into another person, the physical personification of his pirate ancestor, played by Roy Barcroft. It is said that this was one of Barcroft's favorite roles, because it was something different from western heavies. Indeed it was, and Barcroft revels in it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. D. Lothrop on January 7, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
Why Richard Bailey? Maybe all the good leading men hadn't come back from World War Two yet. And why that ugly checked jacket? After spending the wardrobe budget on Captain Mephisto's bellbottoms, they probably had to get Bailey's jacket at Goodwill. Heck, in most of his fights his jacket doesn't even become unbuttoned and his hat doesn't fall off!

The undistinguished Bailey plays distinguished criminologist Lance Reardon, who helps Claire Forrest, played by serial queen Linda Stirling, search the island for her scientist father. Professor Forrest is a prisoner of Captain Mephisto, an 18th century pirate who has invented a machine which turns him into one of his four descendants who inhabit an island--or maybe it's the other way around. Anyway, Mephisto is played by one of the all-time popular baddies, Roy Barcroft. Barcroft is much better in this role than he was as the title character in "The Purple Monster Strikes," which he made in the same year (maybe the bellbottoms helped). When he was a Martian occupying another man's body, I bought it; though the process is similar, here I don't. I don't know why they needed the metamorphosis, it would have been a perfectly okay serial without it, but there it is, and it doesn't work for me. Here's hoping you enjoy watching the change, because the same exact scene occurs in every chapter.

Lind Stirling ("The Crimson Ghost," Zorro's Black Whip") is her usual competent self, which is a good thing because without her Reardon is dead meat. Perhaps his most common line is, "Thank you, Claire!" every time she rescues him. In a remarkable case of "you'd-never-recognize-him," Kenne Duncan plays Mephisto's chief henchman Brand, quite a turnaround after playing the calm, almost otherworldly Ram Singh is "The Spider's Web.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By gonavy34 on December 2, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
This serial is a good one in that it stars the great Roy Barcoft as the villian. Followers of serials know that he was one of the best and gives a first rate performance here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Virginia E. Johnson on April 9, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This 15-chapter Republic serial from 1945 stars Linda Sterling and Roy Barcroft, with Richard Bailey (sometimes spelled Baily) in the lead roles. Clues lead a young couple to a Pacific Isle where the two find Mystery Island, hoping to rescue the girl’s father. He is a scientist being held prisoner by the evil Captain Mephisto, a pirate from 200 years ago. Mephisto uses a Transformer machine to travel forward in time and disguise himself as one of the four owners of Mystery Island.

During WWII many of the people involved in serials, including actors, were away from the studio, so lead actors were hard to find. Richard Bailey wasn’t an ideal action hero for the serials, though stunt doubles took care of the action. Linda Sterling was magnificent, as usual. She came to Bailey’s rescue more often than he to hers. And Roy Barcroft was one of the kings of the bad men in serials. Although in this part the character of Mephisto was a bit weak.

For some reason a lot of extra cliffhanger scenes from other Republic serials were used in this one, possibly to save writing more scenes. Vehicles going off cliffs, etc. But they weren’t used as the chapter ending, just somewhere within the chapter. It was a fun serial, though possibly lacked some zip due to Richard Bailey, but he tried. He just wasn’t the heroic leading man like, say Clayton Moore.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When I rate Manhunt of Mystery Island at 4 stars, I'm considering it solely in comparison to other serials; needless to say, it wouldn't be all that fair to compare it to big-budget A-features from the major studios. Your ability to enjoy it depends on how into motion picture serials and other Saturday matinee fare from this era you are. Considered on that basis, this one is good but not at the level of the very best serials put out by Republic Pictures (Jungle Girl would be an example of a serial which I would give five stars to).

The story is fairly standard serial fare. Professor Forrest has designed a technological MacGuffin (the "radiotomic transmitter" or something like that), and now he's disappeared. His daughter Claire (Linda Stirling) enlists Lance Reardon (Richard Bailey), a "scientific criminologist"--think PI with a bit of technical expertise--to help find him, and they trace the professor to the aptly named Mystery Island. The island's four owners, who must all be bachelors or widowers (other than Claire, there's not a single female part in the serial), share a mansion on the island. But one of the four is secretly able, by means of Hollywood Science, to transform himself into the legendary pirate Captain Mephisto (Roy Barcroft). Mephisto covets the MacGuffin and has kidnapped Professor Forrest. While he tries to force the professor to construct his device, Mephisto and his henchman Brand (Kenne Duncan), with periodic help from a few villainous Red Shirts, try to stop Lance and Claire from rescuing her father.

Three big positives make this an above average serial.
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