Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Green Archer|
Actor: Victor Jory
Genres: Action & Adventure, Classics, Mystery & Suspense
A thunderbolt of thrills await you in the suspense-loaded, action-exploded, super-serial from the mighty pen of author Edgar Wallace. Thru 15 riveting chapters you will be treated to English castles, secret passages and... more »
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Over-the-top fun. 3 stars if you like your serials straight
Scott MacGillivray | Massachusetts, USA | 02/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE GREEN ARCHER is based on an Edgar Wallace mystery, concerning a gentleman thief operating from his mob's castle headquarters, and an elusive figure who sends warnings by shooting arrows. This 15-chapter serial of 1940 was intended not just for kids but for a more adult audience. However, the film is about as sophisticated as a Three Stooges movie (with some of the same Columbia contract players!). The local law enforcement is represented by Laurel & Hardy/Stooges foil Fred Kelsey, which tells you how serious this enterprise is.
Serial producers used the first three chapters to sell the film to exhibitors, so director James W. Horne exercises relative restraint for these early episodes. Stay with it, because starting with Chapter 4, Horne plants the tongue firmly in cheek and lets the whole project slide. Hero and villains indulge in over-the-top dramatics. Narrator Knox Manning gets into the spirit, too (the announcer in the 1960s "Batman" TV series must have been exposed to Manning's urgent recitations).
Horne gives the serial fans some well-staged thrills (sample: hero and friends are trapped on a high ledge as the building collapses beneath them), but he refuses to take things TOO seriously (sample: the villains play tiddly-winks in their hideout!). Horne also gets screen credit as one of the writers.
The earnest Victor Jory is fine as the rock-jawed hero (an insurance investigator; he's not the leotard-clad Green Archer). The refined James Craven is magnificent as Jory's urbane nemesis. Craven is the Wile E. Coyote of serial villains: he plans intricate death traps, but he EXPECTS his henchmen to fail! Like the coyote, Craven never gives up. The goon squad has the usual Columbia serial faces: Jack Ingram and Kit Guard are most memorable, with Al Ferguson, Cy Schindell, and Eddie Fetherston among the others.
If you can take your serials less than 100% seriously, you'll enjoy this fascinatingly bizarre cliffhanger. Never mind the plot; you'll probably guess the outcome during Chapter 1. By the two-thirds mark, you'll be well accustomed to the mock-serious tone. Just keep your eye on Jory and Craven, and watch the fun. The source print is a fine 16mm print, and picture and sound quality are good.
Humor on the Set
Scott Lothrop | Tampa, FL, USA | 01/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Egads, a serial with an underlying current of humor! Not that it's a comedy; in fact it's a prototypical movie serial with fights, chases, a sprawling gothic castle with dungeons and deathtraps in every corner, secret passages, medieval treasure, and a mysterious masked hero running around doing all kinds of mysterioua things. Director James Horne was known not for great serials, but for his lighthearted approach to them. Once I realized the crooks were playing it for laughs, I started to really enjoy it.
James Craven ("The Purple Monster Strikes") plays Abel Bellamy, who has tuned the family castle into a den of thieves and framed his brother to a long prison term. His nefarious plot might have succeeded if only he had hired competent henchmen; instead, they fall all over one another trying to carry out his orders. His reaction to their botched jobs is hilarious--by Chapter 8 or 9 he's about to have a stroke at the antics of his idiot gang. The confusion between the good and bad Green Archers is also funny, and Fred Kelsey is a hoot as the bumbling police inspector Captain Thompson, who looks like a refugee from a Three Stooges comedy. Another humorous bit is the performance of Kit Guard, the little guy who plays Dinky with his continuous malapropisms.
Craven is really the star of this serial, but Victor Jory as the hero, ace insurance investigator Spike Holland, is more than competent. Jory is in perpetual motion as he runs around fighting the bad guys and saving the good guys. The ultra-hot Iris Meredith ("The Spider's Web") plays the sister of the woman whom Abel Bellamy is holding prisoner in the castle. Two of the leading actors from "Manhunt of Mystery Island" are also present, Forrest Taylor as the father of the two women, and Kenne Duncan ("The Spider's Web", "Haunted Harbor") as Mike Bellamy, sent to prison via his brother Abel Bellamy's frame-up.
James W. Horne was a real staple at Columbia, directing every one of their serials, without a co-director, from late 1939 until his death in mid-1942--that's ten consecutive serials.
The humor lifts this above the ordinary. And there are enough surprises and cases of mistaken identity along the way to make this a most enjoyable serial."
I really liked it!
Neal Nye | Minneapolis, MN , USA | 12/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of Edgar Wallace, you will love this film. The action takes place in America, rather than in England, and some characters are different than in the book, but the evil guys delight in their evilness and the good guys are gooder than good. I think the actors must have had fun making this film, because every one of them really hams it up! Much fun when watching with a group that likes the genre."