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Alec Baldwin stars as the legendary crime-fighting superhero in The Shadow, a spellbinding runaway entertainment ride (NBC News). Donning his sweeping black cape and disguise, The Shadow takes on his most dangerous nemesis yet: the last descendant of the great Genghis Khan whose weapon of choice is an atomic bomb. With the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, they square off for a spectacular battle in a dazzling mixture of mind-blowing special effects, humor and a dose of the macabre that will hold you spellbound!
Featuring an all-star cast Penelope Ann Miller (Carlitos Way), John Lone (The Last Emperor), Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Ian McKellen (X-Men).
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[IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: the 1994 Shadow film is described as "falling flat," in reference to it's box office performance, not entertainment value.]
well, it's good to know interest enough remains for there to be a market for a historical overview of this sort. it's even somewhat exhilirating to learn that Sam Raimi - who, according to this very documentary, was unable to get the rights to The Shadow and so designed DARKMAN in The Shadow's image - has managed to acquire the rights to the real deal. (though i hasten to add, even if it does go without saying, that he'll have to make one mother of a movie if he's to equal, let alone surpass, that woefully underappreciated 1994 version starring Alec Baldwin.)
the story of the creation of The Shadow, and his various performances though various media, is the sort that could only happen in real life, because any fictional story in which this happened would be dismissed as positively outlandish for it. the prototype version of the character was created almost literally out of thin air in 1931, when "pulp" magazine syndicate Street & Smith decided to sponsor a radio series to showcase it's "Detective Story Magazine." not unlike "The Fonz" a few decades later, the etheral, peripheral narrator would steal the show from the sidelines...to such an extent that listeners would be asking their newsdealers for "that Shadow magazine." once the higher-ups got word, they hired a magician-turned-journalist named Walter B. Gibson to chronicle The Shadow's own adventures, and it was all uphill from there.
i can't continue on this line. i find that i'm basically telling the story, and if i do that, why would you need to buy it for yourself? sufficed to say that The Shadow was a publishing phenomenon, then the flagship of action/adventure on radio, then the focal point of a load of merchandising, even making his way into comic books, blah-di-blah-di-blah. it's a story well worth taking a peek into, and the people behind this DVD tell it much better than i can (at least with these resources).
i do have one complaint in the sound quality. i've noticed that on a number of "budget" DVDs, the sound quality is a little uneven, to say the least. when background music plays it's overwhelmingly loud, then in simple cases of people talking they might as well be whispering, because you had to turn the volume down when the damn music engulfed you. i wish someone in the technical end would find a way around this, but until they do, you'll just have to keep your thumb next to the volume button on your remote control.
but if you're willing to put yourself through that ordeal, the life-story of The Shadow will pay you back with interest.
This movie is a favorite of mine in spite of its many flaws (mainly the story and dialog). The Shadow was made in an almost apologetic campy style, low on suspense, high on humor. Alec Baldwin, sporting a peculiar fright wig, carrying on as a supposed warlord (in name only), is hardly the menace he's made out to be (the only thing brutal about his performance is that horrific wig!). As for the rest of the cast............ Over the years, through many viewings, I've come to appreciate Tim Curry's obnoxiously hammy performance, the complete opposite of Jonathan Winters, who gives a fantastically restrained performance that's fun and funny. Also great are Penelope Ann Miller and Peter Boyle. Sadly, Ian McKellen is wasted in a bit part as a befuddled scientist, Dr. Reinhardt Lane. It was a throw-away role anyone could have played. The best feature remains the period look, the wonderful art deco sets, and clothes. Pity they didn't spend more of their budget on the screenplay by David Koepp.
Still, it is a guilty pleasure that I watch often.