blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Shadow (1954, Charles F. Haas)

So why not turn The Shadow into an amateur detective procedural? Haas’s pilot for a “Shadow” television series is a good reason, though it’s inexplicable why someone would want to turn it into such a thing. Not the procedural part, but the amateur detective part.

Peter Barry’s script recasts Lamont Cranston (played by an ineffectual Tom Helmore) as a psychiatrist who works for the police. They don’t seem to know he’s The Shadow, but he can only solve cases because he’s The Shadow… one of the many questions not worth answering.

With Helmore’s tepid performance, there’s no way “The Shadow” was going to work out; Barry’s script is awful too. There are occasional hints at something when Paula Raymond (as Helmore’s female companion–there’s no explanation for her presence) is around.

The decent supporting cast can’t overcome the lame script or Haas’s awkward camera setups.

It’s bad but not terrible.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Charles F. Haas; teleplay by Peter Barry, based on the character created by Walter B. Gibson; camera operator, William Steiner; produced by Nathan Kroll and Willson Tuttle.

Starring Tom Helmore (Lamont Cranston), Paula Raymond (Margot Lane), Frank M. Thomas (Commissioner Weston), Alexander Scourby (Rollo Grimmbauer), Norman Shelly (Detective Harry Harris), William Smithers (Alex Bromm), Leona Powers (The Landlady) and Peggy Lobbin (Cissy Chadwick).


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