blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Amazing Exploits of the Clutching Hand (1936, Albert Herman), Chapter 9: Evil Eyes

Evil Eyes, despite all evidence to the contrary, actually seems like it might be doing something new with Clutching Hand. After an amazing cliffhanger resolution where instead of assaulting Ruth Mix, the clutching hand of the unseen Clutching Hand takes a paper she’s reading. She’s terrified, but no one’s too concerned about it. I mean, Rex Lease goes chasing after who he thinks is the culprit but he’s wrong. But no one is worried about how the house apparently has secret passageways and so on.

Lease catches Gaston Glass, who’s Mix’s paramour. Only Glass needs Mix to get back this knife he owns because Jack Mulhall’s got it. Mulhall wants Mix to come get the knife so he sets a trap for her. More a rouse. A rouse of a trap. Only she doesn’t fall for it, becaues Mulhall’s a terrible master detective.

So he has to go to Glass’s house in makeup, which is an incredibly silly scene. It does seem, for a moment, Glass might be something new in Clutching Hand. A new suspect. A new location. Maybe even new locations–Glass’s house is really exciting after all the same locations over and over.

But then they go right back to the wharf bar. And Glass is apparently out of the serial, at least in any important capacity. He’s a red herring to get to another red herring. Though Mix is the red herring to get to Glass. Clutching Hand is convoluted as all heck but only because it’s so padded. And dumb. It’s really dumb.

It’s kind of hard not to watch the serial like Mulhall is a bad guy. He’s such a doofus, he’s so inept, how can he be the hero. Not even the other characters can be dumb enough to be impressed with the master detective bit. He’s terrible at it.

But there are only six more to go. It is actually going to end. The Clutching Hand is going to end; a not inappropriate mantra for watching it.


Directed by Albert Herman; screenplay by Leon D’Usseau and Dallas M. Fitzgerald, based on an adaptation by George M. Merrick and Eddie Granemann and the novel by Arthur B. Reeve; director of photography, James Diamond; edited by Earl Turner; produced by Louis Weiss; released by Stage & Screen Productions.

Starring Jack Mulhall (Craig Kennedy), Rex Lease (Walter Jameson), Mae Busch (Mrs. Gironda), Ruth Mix (Shirley McMillan), William Farnum (Gordon Gaunt), Marion Shilling (Verna Gironda), Bryant Washburn (Denton), Robert Frazer (Dr. Gironda), Gaston Glass (Louis Bouchard), Mahlon Hamilton (Montgomery), Robert Walker (Joe Mitchell), Yakima Canutt (Number Eight), Joseph W. Girard (Lawyer Cromwell), Frank Leigh (Maj. Courtney Wickham), Jon Hall (Frank Hobart), Franklyn Farnum (Nicky), and Knute Erickson (Capt. Hansen).


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