Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941, William Witney and John English), Chapter 5: The Scorpion Strikes

The cliffhanger resolution at the beginning of The Scorpion Strikes quickly gives way to a fine Captain Marvel action sequence. Tom Tyler gets lots of dialogue as he threatens punks; he even throws one off a building.

He captures the last thug left ambulatory and takes him in for questioning. Only it’s not Tyler who takes him in, it’s alter ego Frank Coghlan Jr. Apparently the thug saw him transform? It’s unclear. Also unclear why the presence of Captain Marvel isn’t impressing anyone. Louise Currie gets a scene with Tyler and has zero reaction.

Coghlan’s scheme doesn’t quite work out and then he finds himself trapped by the mysterious Scorpion in a mine. The cliffhanger has the Scorpion melting away the surrounding mountain to flood the mine with molten rock. The cliffhanger setup is just Tyler panicking at not being able to escape. Pretty cool; hopefully they have a decent resolution.

There’s some excellent process shots–the rock melting and flooding. Some good stunts, including a very obvious stunt man, and a good pace keep Strikes moving.

Captain Marvel has almost entirely given up on subplots by now; in fact, it’s hard to remember it ever had them. But it’s still all right.


Directed by John English and William Witney; screenplay by Ronald Davidson, Norman S. Hall, Arch Heath, Joseph F. Poland, and Sol Shor, based on the comic book by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker; director of photography, William Nobles; edited by William P. Thompson and Edward Todd; music by Cy Feuer; released by Republic Pictures.

Starring Frank Coghlan Jr. (Billy Batson), Tom Tyler (Captain Marvel), William ‘Billy’ Benedict (Whitey Murphy), Louise Currie (Betty Wallace), Kenne Duncan (Barnett), Robert Strange (John Malcolm), Harry Worth (Prof. Luther Bentley), John Davidson (Tal Chotali), and George Pembroke (Dr. Stephen Lang).

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