The Phantom - Serial
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Professor Davidson and his lovely daughter Diana search Africa for the Lost City of Zoloz. Legend pegs it to be the source of a vast hidden treasure. Their search is hindered by a local crook, Singapore Smith, who wants the treasure for himself. It is further complicated by Dr. Bremmer, an international criminal, who plans to destroy the peace with the local native tribes and build a secret air base at Zoloz. Fortunately, the Phantom, who is also Dianas fianc, is more than a match for the two villains. The Phantom, with his superhuman strength, manages to outwit each enemy move, escaping from one death trap after an other: avalanches, poison gas, flaming pyres, and explosions fail to shake his fearless spirit. With the help of his four-footed pal Devil, he finally overpowers all the enemy factions, and brings peace to the jungle once again. Another exciting serial adventure produced by Columbia Pictures and based on one of King Features funny-paper heroes.
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Most actors look either very skinny or pudgy in hero costume tights. Tom Tyler looks good in the suit, good in a stunt fight, and has a voice that nicely matches what you expect from a hero.
I had never watched this before getting the DVDs, and I am surprised how well the story hangs together. Some of the cliff hanger endings are a bit on the silly side, but there are also clever plot twists beyond what I would have expected. My wife and I have been going thru the series for a few days now and have been quite entertained. Fifty plus years ago this was weekly movie theater fare for many, but if you have never seen these serials, or if you feel an urge to revisit your youth, these DVDs will not disappoint. They are certainly quite different than what you've been used to.
The image quality is about what you'd expect. There are many imperfections in the film image, and the music has the type of distortion and tinny sound that you get used to if you watch old movies or TV shows. However, you quickly get past those flaws and put them out of your mind as you are drawn into the story and the action.
TIP: Since you likely don't want to watch the serial straight thru in one sitting per DVD, it would be nice to have a chapter selection on the menu, right? Well, its there, but not where you would expect it to be, on the front page of the DVD menu. However, just select Special Features, and you'll find the needed and expected Chapter Menu there.
This is a great value for the hours of entertainment, especially if you are or ever were a fan of The Phantom comic strips or comic books.
That said, , the dubbing of chapter 11 temporarily ruined this for me. Full disclosure, I'm picky and anal retentive. Disc 1 was perfect. Though I can't figure out why 10 chapters were on 1 disc and 5 on the other. Wouldn't 7 and 8 made more sense, or 5 per disc on 3 discs? Regardless, that's neither here nor there.
What I can't fathom, is why some nasally guy came on at the beginning of disc 2 (chapter 11) and did a loud obnoxious dub/recap of the previous chapter. It yanked me right out of it. Forget the fact the guy sounds foolish and the volume disproportionate, but they didn't even take care to keep it consistent. All other recaps, end with the quote "when suddenly...". Then the new chapter begins. This guy tried to sound as he assumed people sounded in the 40s. It was more of a bad 1920s flapper immitation.
Once I got past that travesty, I was hit with another one. This one much worse. Once the previous cliffhanger is shown in chapter 11, the character voices are dubbed with strange voices. They're no longer the voices of the actors. I don't know what happened, but for 10 chapters this was great. Chapter 11 came and it was like I entered the Twilight Zone. How can no one else have been bothered this?
I've seen some bad decisions, but this one really boggles my mind. Some people may not have a problem with it, but it really rubbed me the wrong way and tainted an otherwise enjoyable serial.
[Update]: After some investigation, I discovered the audio track for this chapter couldn't be found. That said, I guess this was necessary, but they could have done a better job. Not much care was taken to make it seamless. I'd rather have this, than no serial at all, but quality needs to count for something. It's lacking here.
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you get real action from great stunt artists, no 'computer...Read more