The Green Archer
Larry Darmour for Columbia
directed by James W. Horne
starring Victor Jory, Iris Meredith, James Craven, Robert Fiske, Dorothy Fay, Forrest Taylor, Jack Ingram, Joseph W.Girard, Fred Kelsey, Kit Guard, Jack Cheatham, Edmund Cobb, Kerman Cripps, Kenne Duncan, Herbert Evans, Franklyn Farnum, Al Ferguson, Eddie Fetherston, Chuck Hamilton, Harry Harvey, Lloyd Ingraham, Warren Jackson, J.Paul Jones, Johnny Kascier, Charles King, Tom London, Mary MacLaren, Bud Osborne, Constantine Romanoff, Cy Schindell, Harry Tenbrook, Anthony Warde, Duke York, Bert Young, Charles Dorety, Edward Hearn, Sam Lufkin, Bruce Mitchell, Dick Rush
screenplay by Morgan Cox, John Cutting, Jesse Duffy, James W.Horne, based on the novel by Edgar Wallace, music by Lee Zahler
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Abel Bellamy (James Craven) has seen to it that his brother Michael
(Kenne Duncan) is convicted of a murder that he didn't commit and then
dies when a prison transport crashes, just so he can get his hands on the
family mansion and make it the headquarters for his criminal organisation.
Playing the griefing relative, he invites Michael's wife Elaine (Dorothy
Fay) to stay with him, but once she's inside his mansion he makes her his
Elaine's sister Valerie (Iris Meredith) and her father Parker
(Forrest Taylor) soon start looking for her, and so does his best friend
Spike Holland (Victor Jory), insurance detective, and soon they join
forces. What follows are several attempts by Spike to break into and find
out the secrets of the mansion (which is riddled with secret passageways),
several deathtraps Bellamy sets for Spike and Valerie and her dead,
several appearances of the legendary yet mysterious Green Archer, who
always comes to the aide of Spike and company, a second Green Archer (Jack
Ingram) set up by Bellamy to get rid of Spike and company, and of course
your usual chases, shootouts, explosions and fistfights.
In the finale,
the fortunes turn abainst Bellamy though, when his partner in crime Savini
(Robert Fiske) decides to jump ship and hand all the evidence against his
partner over to Valerie in exchange for his freedom. Savini is killed
though, and Bellamy manages to turn the situation to his favour and lure
Spike, Valerie and her father into a deathtrap - when once more the Green
Archer shows up, reveals himself to be Bellamy's own thought-dead brother
Michael, and forces him to set free Spike and the others, just before the
police arrives to arrest everyone.
In the end, to noone's real surprise,
Spike gets the girl - Valerie of course.
This Edgar Wallace
adaptation of course has very little to do with its source novel as it
follows more closely the by 1940 well-established serial formula than that
of your typical murder mystery. That said though, as a serial, The
Green Archer isn't at all bad, it's actually among the best
chapterplays Columbia has produced ever. Thsi is thanks to a very
stringent screenplay in which the action never lets up, a touch of irony
that keeps the whole thing from taking itself too seriously, comic
interludes that never really interrupt the narrative flow but are part of
the story, and a colourful cast of supporting actors.
Recommended to all