Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941, William Witney and John English), Chapter 6: Lens of Death

Lens of Death has great fistfight in the middle. Sadly, it’s not Captain Marvel fighting, but this guy’s butler. The place is being robbed and the butler takes on the two crooks and keeps them busy until Captain Marvel does arrive. There’s no great fight scene Captain Marvel Tom Tyler, though he does get a fairly neat rooftop chase scene. He’s on the rooftop, chasing people on the ground. William P. Thompson and Edward Todd edit the heck out of the sequence, as Tyler’s stunt double looks nothing like him, so they’re cutting on movement and trying to match. It’s cool.

Unfortunately, it’s the middle of the chapter and there’s no more cool after it. Death opens with another lackluster cliffhanger resolve. The only reason for the cliffhanger, it turns out, is because Tyler’s not good at making himself aware of his surroundings. The time he wasted let the bad guy get away.

Then, thanks to the radio, the bad guy outwits all the archaeologist types. Frank Coghlan Jr. and William ‘Billy’ Benedict are the only ones who can save the day. They split up, but eventually Tyler has to go to save Benedict. And he manages to get himself in another easily avoidable predicament.

Coghlan always come across as pretty smart. It’s unclear why once he becomes Tyler, the character makes really poor choices.


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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