Sunday, July 15, 2012

Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere (1951)

I've been watching a lot of serials recently, some good (both Superman ones) and some adequate (too many to name, but Hurricane Express was one).  they are fun, and obviously not meant to be watched one chapter after another.  the viewer can see how they cheat the death traps a lot easier than if you only watch a chapter a week.  it doesn't actually take away from any of the fun, especially if you are watching through adult eyes.  those eyes, and ears, make some of the lines more humorous than intended.  especially if our heroes use a weapon called "the cosmic vibrator" and call it that.

anyway, I've never seen a bit of any Captain Video and His Video Rangers before.  this was a good serial, with some cool effects and really lousy acting. Judd Holdren was just not very good with some of his lines.  he was way better in Zombies of the Stratosphere. though I could be biased, as that was my first ever serial.  

anyway this makes it through 15 chapters in a very swift manner.  the running time is shorter for each part, since this was at the tail end of the serials.  as I mentioned, the effects are pretty good.  Columbia makes use of some cartoon animation for the outer space stuff, and it works really well.  there are interesting tinted scenes as well, for the various planets our heroes visit.

but what's the deal with calling the sidekick "Ranger" or "young Ranger"?  doesn't he get a real name?  the two villains, George Eldredge as Dr. Tobor and Gene Roth as Vultura, do a good job though and are fun to watch.

the serial ends pretty abruptly though, with the villains' demise and then a speech about people never wanting to be ruled by dictators.  our heroes don't even get back to Earth!

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