Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Phantom of the WestChapters 1 10|
Actor: Tom Tyler
Director: D. Ross Lederman
Genres: Westerns, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
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CLASSIC MASCOT SERIAL...ALPHA DVD!
Richard J. Oravitz | 06/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...confusing, jarring, mind-numbing...existing in a dream-like state.
PHANTOM OF THE WEST, filmed in 1930 & released in 1931 is perhaps the classic example of the motion picture serial in transition from silents to sound...it's images & characters like Phantoms themselves projected onto some giant movie screen in your mind...weird.
It's as though someone with a home-movie camera went out and filmed these events, capturing a realistic look at the American West. But realistic this is not...It's more of a fantasy dream world.
For example, when hero Jim Lester (Tom Tyler) is ambushed by a couple of thugs in Chapter 1, he fights it out with thug #1 (Joe Bonomo) and brings Bonomo in to the sheriff for questioning. When Bonomo is forced to reveal the secret identity of THE PHANTOM he is shot from ambush. Now, in the very next chapter Bonomo reappears in the bar fighting with a drunk & appears in all of the following chapters even though he has already been killed off...and he doesn't even bother to change his shirt or add a moustache...as if in a dream.
Also, when THE PHANTOM is finally revealed we all know his identity cannot possibly be true because the character in question was seen in the company of others (earlier) when THE PHANTOM struck.
Now, I'm not criticizing this creaky serial, I love this film!
This was the first of the Mascot PHANTOM/MYSTERY/VILLAINS and/or SECRET/CLOAKED/NIGHT-RIDERS to come...THE VANISHING LEGION(1931), THE LIGHTNING WARRIOR(1931), FIGHTING WITH KIT CARSON(1933), MYSTERY MOUNTAIN(1934) & Gene Autry's THE PHANTOM EMPIRE(1935) folowed.
And it's really great to catch a glimpse of the 1930's American West before urban sprawl...Most of these Poverty Row Productions could not afford expensive sound stages to shoot on and so they had to make due with the real thing, actual location shooting!
I have both the VCI videotape and the ALPHA dvd and I compared them side-by-side and have come to the conclusion that both were taken from the same film source. All the scratches, wash-outs, jump-cuts, etc. are the same. However, this is really a great visual treat. Remember, this serial is from a cheap studio, but most images are sharp and surprisingly clear! I was amazed at the quality of this serial.
If you are just starting out on serials then go first with the Republic classics from the late 1930's-early 1940's: DICK TRACY(1937), DAREDEVILS OF THE RED CIRCLE(1939), MYSTERIOUS DR. SATAN(1940), JUNGLE GIRL(1941), SPY SMASHER(1942)...there are lots to choose from.
But if you want a classic example of the early roots of the sound serial, then this is your baby...& it's all just a dream..."
Pure awesomeness, withTom Tyler to boot!
Lt. Brannigan | Idaho. | 03/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This serial surprised with how good it actually was, I was expecting something akin to pure sludge. What I got was an exciting serial with an appealing hero in Tom Tyler (Who has never let me down yet) as Jim Lester. In some ways this serial is laughable in it's antiquity, particularly the staging of the fights which makes it appear as if the combatants are fighting as children.
The Phantom's identity is easy to decipher and kind of ruins the proceedings a bit, but as stated before Tom Tyler alone covers all flaws this eager little mystern (Western+mystery) has. Most of which are understandable and easy to forgive when one considers that they had just barely left the Silent Era behind, however the acting is obviously done primarily in the silent technique. So if major overacting gets on your nerves this won't please you.