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The Master Key

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Product Details

  • Actors: Milburn Stone, Jan Wiley, Dennis Moore, Addison Richards, Byron Foulger
  • Directors: Lewis D. Collins, Ray Taylor
  • Writers: Ande Lamb, Dwight V. Babcock, George H. Plympton, Jack Natteford, Joseph O'Donnell
  • Producers: Morgan Cox
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Vci Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 250 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E97HW6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,081 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Master Key" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Bios
  • Original trailer
  • Bonus "Classic Cliffhanger" trailers

Editorial Reviews

Actors: Milburn Stone, Dennis Moore, Byron Foulger, Russell Hicks, Lash LaRue, Jan Wiley: Universal's 64th of 69 sound-era serials in 13 exciting chapters. Set in 1938, Nazi agents kidnap mineralogical scientist, Elwood Henderson (Byron Foulger) and utilize his Orotron machine, which extracts gold from the ocean. Operating under the secret leadership of "The Master Key," the gang is trailed by Federal Investigator Tom Brant (Milburn Stone). Brant is aided by detective Jack Ryan (Dennis Moore) and ace reporter Janet Lowe (Jan Wiley). DVD Bonus & Features: Bios, Original Theatrical Trailers, Bonus Classic Cliffhanger Trailers, Chapter Selection, DVD-9 / DVD-5, Dolby Digital 2.0, 250 min, B&W, 1.33:1, NR, 1945.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Kohl; on November 5, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Master Key" is a 13-chapter Universal serial released in 1945, directed by Ray Taylor and Lewis D. Collins. The story is by Jack Natteford and Dwight V. Babcock, with screenplay by Joseph O'Donnell, George H. Plympton and Ande Lamb. In each chapter the the foreword notes that "This is just a story. Like many good stories, it never happened and never could happen ... But let us imagine that it is 1938, somewhere in the United States."

The plot involves a gang of Nazi spies, each of whom carries a key with their identification number. Agent M-2 is Garret Donohue (Addison Richards), second in command to the unseen "Master Key" or agent M-1, who communicates at their meetings through a loudspeaker on a vacant chair. They have copied a machine, the "Orotron" which does not produce cookies, but rather extracts minerals and elements from seawater. The Nazis want it to get gold, with which to buy critical industries important to defense efforts so, as the Master Key puts it, "the industrial might of the United States will never be used against us when war comes." Unfortunately the machine requires special "Orotron tubes" which the Nazis haven't been able to duplicate, and which don't last very long. So they have captured the inventor, Professor Henderson (Byron Foulger), who is not cooperating with them. Arriving on the scene from Washington is Tom Brant (Milburn Stone) who, with Police Detective Jack Ryan (Dennis Moore) must find Professor Henderson, determine the identity of "The Master Key" and bring the gang to justice. Complicating this is a newspaper reporter, Janet Lowe (Jan Wiley) whom the police suspect may not be telling the full truth about what she knows.
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By Magnifying Glass on August 2, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
By the title, you might expect that there might be other keys other than the master key ... there are. Each member of this group of bad guys has his own numbered key. What are they for? Well, when it is time to operate the Orotron to extract gold out of seawater, each member must insert their key into their numbered keyhole on the wall safe in order to open it and remove their boxes, each which contains a unique electronic tube necessary to operate the machine.

What is the master key for? Sorry, you'll have to wait to see chapter 13 . . . .

Cliffhanger setups & escapes: mundane. The setups and the resolutions of how the main characters escape death are unimaginative - in most cases it is only by extraordinary luck that they survive. For example, in one cliffhanger, a speeding train plunges off a trestle bridge into a deep gorge - Tom Brant is unhurt ... what luck!

Extras: Bios (The bios are several text pages long; each page will display automatically after a short interval.) Trailers: "The Master Key", "Tim Tyler's Luck" (African adventure), "Riders of Death Valley" (western), and "Captain Video" (space fiction.)

DVD - 2006. Picture: varies by episode from poor to good. Defects: Generally fuzzy with many specks, occasional streaks and faint green tints. If you sit close to the screen you are likely to notice the image squirms. Most chapters have a thin black and gray bar at the top - it is most pronounced in chapter 6. Wherever a newspaper headline is shown, it is obviously cropped on the left and right sides, but otherwise the cropping is not noticeable. Sound volume normal, clear. Subtitles: none.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Lovins HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 30, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
VCI Entertainment and Universal Pictures present..."The Master Key" (1945) (Dolby digitally remastered), a 13 Chapter cliffhanger from an action packed Universal serial era featuring an outstanding cast with Lewis D. Collins and Ray Taylor at the helm....our story has to do with Nazi agents who are planning to use steal an invention that can extract gold from the ocean floor...what is this strange machine the "Orotron" and what evil disorder is coming from Migsy, head henchman (Lash Larue)...can Tom Brant (Milburn Stone), Jack Ryan (Dennis Moore) and Janet Lowe (Jan Wiley) round up the Nazi Agents and free Elwood Henderson (Bryon Foulger)...and just who is the unknown head agent and leader of "The Master Key"...boy, can Universal Serials get any better than this chapter play...don't leave the theater until the final chapter is over and done with "The Last Key"....just remember double thrills, chills, mystery and suspense...hitting the bull's eye with excitement...don't miss a single spine thrilling episode..return next week to this local theater for another episode of action and adventure that will keep you thrilled until the next chapter.

Under director's Lewis D. Collins and Ray Taylor, producer Morgan B. Cox, original story by Jack Natterford and Dwight V. Barcock, original screenplay by George H. Plympton, Joseph O'Donnell and Ande Lamb, dialogue director Willard Holland, musical score by Charles Previn, Hans J. Salter, Frank Skinner and Dimitri Tiomkin, stunts Carl Matthews, David Sharpe, Tom Steele, Ken Terrell and Dale Van Sickel ...the cast includes Milburn Stone (Agent Tom Brant), Jan Wiley (Janet Lowe), Dennis Moore (Detective Lt. Jack Ryan), Addison Richards (Gerhard Doenitz), Bryon Foulger (Prof.
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