Behind the Mask
The Shadow Behind the Mask / The Shadow's Shadow
Joe Kaufmann for Monogram
directed by Phil Karlson
starring Kane Richmond, Barbara Reed, George Chandler, Dorothea Kent, James Cardwell, Joseph Crehan, Robert Shayne, Pierre Watkins, June Clyde, Marjorie Hoshelle, Edward Gargan, Lou Crosby, Joyce Compton, Jean Carlin
screenplay by George Callahan, story by Arthur Hoerl, based on The Shadow, created by Walter B.Gibson (= Maxwell Grant), musical director: Edward J.Kay, special effects by Ray Mercer
The Shadow, The Shadow (Monogram)
Lamont Cranston (Kane Richmond), the millinaire who is in seccret the
crimefighter The Shadow, is pre-celebrating his wedding with Margo Lane
(Barbara Reed) the very next day ... when he learns the Shadow had allegedly
killed a man - blackmailing reporter Jeff Mann (James Cardwell) - & right
at a time when he had temporarily left the party too. His wife-to-be Margo -
one of the very few knowing he is the Shadow - is furious not only because she
thinks he might have killed someone, but also because he wants to leave the
party again right away to take up investigations ... which he does anyways,
even taking his butler & accomplice Shrevvie (George Chandler) with him.
Margo is on the verge of calling off the wedding, & it's not made any
better when she & her friend Jenny (Dorothea Kent) spy on Lamont &
catch him with Edith (June Clyde), Jeff Mann's secretary & girlfriend, who
is to provide Lamont with some information about Jeff's blackmailing operation.
Margo is so aroused she's ready to beat Edith up violently & is only just
restrained by Lamont ... only when only minutes later Edith turns up dead in
the elevtor is Margo made to see Lamont's side of the affair ... which is maybe
not to the best as she soon sees it her duty to in Lamont's stead break
into Edith's appartment disguised as the Shadow to collect some important
files. Unfortunately so do the fake Shadow, the real Shadow (Lamont) and police
commissioner Weston (Pierre Watkin), inspector Cardonna (Joseph Crehan) &
detective Dixon (Edward Gargan). & after she is hit over the head by both
the fake & the real Shadow, she's almost caught by the police, too.
At Edith's appartment, Lamont has at least found a paper that leads to 2 of
Jeff's blackmailing victims, secret bookie Mae Bishop (Marjorie Hoshelle) &
bribing barowner Marty Greene (Lou Crosby), & Lamont is able to collect
sufficient material against them, even though over-ambitious & -jealous
Margo seems to almost blow his plans again.
In the end Lamont manages to get everyone involved - among others Mae Bishop
& Marty Greene & the police to the newspaper offices Jeff Mann has
worked at ... to prove the Shadow (that is, himself) was innocent all along
& the fake Shadow was ... not Marty, not Mae, not one of their thugs, but
newspaper-editor Brad Thomas (Robert Shayne), who was Jeff's partner in the
blackmailing business but had ambitions to take over ...
The case solved, there's only one thing left to do for Lamont: to give Margo
the spanking of her life (really !) ...
As a mystery, the story of Behind the Mask is mediocre at best, but
someone at Monogram had the good sense to intertwine the crime story
with a subplot about a jealous fiancée & put a comical edge to it ...
which works beautifully - not at least thanks to the straight performance by Kane
Richmond & the deliberately annoying performance by Barbara Reed - &
easily makes up for the lack of action or the occasional leaps in reason, at
the same time - also thanks to a careful direction - putting it a natch or 2
above Monogram's usual mystery-output (or the usual mystery output of
most other b-movie-outfits).