Brenda Starr, Reporter (1945, Wallace Fox), Chapter 2: The Blazing Trap

The Blazing Trap opens with a lengthy lead-in to the cliffhanger resolve. Even though the resolve is pretty easy, it’s kind of cool how much context Brenda Starr gives its resolution. It doesn’t feel like a quick wrap up, it feels like a part of the story.

After it’s over, though, the chapter speeds headfirst into a boring finish. Joan Woodbury, once again, foolishly investigates something without letting the cops know. Last time there were tragic consequences. Who knows what will happen this time. Assuming Brenda Starr doesn’t die in the second chapter.

But that boring finish isn’t just because there’s a weak cliffhanger. It’s everything in the second half of the chapter. The first half hinges on Syd Saylor being funny as Woodbury’s meandering photographer. It doesn’t not work, but at least Blazing is trying.

Then the next scene, when Woodbury and Saylor check in with newspaper editor Frank Jaquet, has some snappy dialogue. It seems like Blazing might be headed somewhere. Somewhere good, not somewhere boring.

Woodbury interviews a night club singer (Cay Forester), who has some connection to the unseen villain–The Big Boss. Then Woodbury gets in trouble investigating a lead. Shouldn’t be boring, somehow manages to be boring.

Woodbury’s fine, she just isn’t compelling enough to save the serial.

CREDITS

Directed by Wallace Fox; screenplay by Ande Lamb and George H. Plympton, based on the comic strip by Dale Messick; director of photography, Ira H. Morgan; edited by Charles Henkel Jr.; music by Edward J. Kay; produced by Sam Katzman; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Joan Woodbury (Brenda Starr), Kane Richmond (Lt. Larry Farrell), Syd Saylor (Chuck Allen), George Meeker (Frank Smith), Wheeler Oakman (Heller), Cay Forester (Vera Harvey), Marion Burns (Zelda), Lottie Harrison (Abretha), Ernie Adams (Charlie), Jack Ingram (Kruger), Anthony Warde (Muller), John Merton (Joe Schultz), William ‘Billy’ Benedict (Pesky), and Joe Devlin (Sgt. Tim Brown).


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