Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941, William Witney and John English), Chapter 11: Valley of Death

Valley of Death is the penultimate chapter of Adventures of Captain Marvel. It’s in a rush to finish. The cliffhanger resolution is boring, though leads to some decent effects shots. The cast ends up in a hotel somewhere, planning to return to Thailand and the tombs from the first chapter.

Villain Reed Hadley, who made an impression so long ago, returns for Valley of Death. The Scorpion, his identity still a mystery, shows up to send a falcon with a message to Hadley and the rest of the bad guys. They’re bad guys because they don’t want the Americans digging up the tombs. The Scorpion, on the other hand, wants to be turn materials into gold and be rich beyond compare.

Tom Tyler gets a bunch of heroics to do while the Americans are en route to the tombs. Like picking up a fallen tree trunk. Only Louise Currie seems surprised to see him in Thailand. Everyone else just shrugs it off.

Once they’re back to the tombs–and Valley is splitting its time between the expedition and the bad guys–Frank Coghlan Jr. gets to take over a bit. Most of the time is spent either on the bad guys or the bad guys’ plan. They cause a volcano to erupt. Some great effects and nice editing on the sequence.

Unfortunately, there’s no drama to it. Not even when a tomb is threatening to collapse on the supporting cast.

There’s some excellent music this chapter (from Cy Feuer) but it’s not priming Adventures for a strong finish.


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 Reed Hadley (Rahman Bar).

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