Professor Davidson and his lovely daughter Diana search Africa for the Lost City of Zoloz. Legend pegs it to be the source of a vast hidden treasure. Their search is hindered by a local crook, Singapore Smith, who wants... more » the treasure for himself. It is further complicated by Dr. Bremmer, an international criminal, who plans to destroy the peace with the local native tribes and build a secret air base at Zoloz. Fortunately, the Phantom, who is also Diana's fiancé, is more than a match for the two villains. The Phantom, with his superhuman strength, manages to outwit each enemy move, escaping from one death trap after an other: avalanches, poison gas, flaming pyres, and explosions fail to shake his fearless spirit. With the help of his four-footed pal Devil, he finally overpowers all the enemy factions, and brings peace to the jungle once again. Another exciting serial adventure produced by Columbia Pictures and based on one of King Features' funny-paper heroes. Bonus Features: Photo Gallery| Comic Book Art Gallery| Commentary by Author Max Allan Collins| Actor Bios| Chapter Menu. Specs: 1-DVD9 + 1-DVD5; Dolby Digital Mono; 254 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1943; SRP - $19.99.« less
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 04/05/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Columbia Pictures never produced a movie serial comparable to the best Republic cliffhangers. However, "The Phantom" (1943) survives as one of the studio's better efforts, thanks to Tom Tyler's memorable presence in the title role and the assured direction of B. Reeves Eason. Unlike Republic, the Columbia serials were more faithful in terms of comic-strip adaptations. "The Phantom" is no exception. Unfortunately, Columbia lacked the solid production values and crisp pacing of the Republic serials - further hindered by the studio's excessive 15-chapter length. Still, "The Phantom" makes the most of Columbia's low-budget shortcomings with its effective jungle setting and above-average cliffhanging exploits. As "The Ghost Who Walks," Tyler is a terrific action hero and does not rely on a stunt double during the fight scenes. Fans of Lee Falk's comic-strip creation will not be disappointed."
Long lost Phantom 1940's serial found & restored now on DVD!
forrie | Nashua, NH United States | 11/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...These Saturday morning matinee serials are great fun (before television).Well "The Phantom" 1943 serial was once one of these long lost films rediscovered, digitally remastered and thanks to VCI Entertainment is now on DVD. This 2 DVD set gives us 15 action packed chapters introduces us to this mysterious character. This is fun stuff.Summary: Tom Tyler plays "The Phantom" and this serial introduces us to this mysterious family who for generations has played "The Phantom" the man who never dies. It seems that a descendent male member must perpetuate the "Phantoms" existence. Why, because the "Phantom" is the law of the African jungle & keeps the peace among more than 50 native tribes. In 15 chapters the Phantom is poisoned to death,(because he knows of the Lost city of Zolov). His son replaces him before he actually dies. (therefore keeping the legend of the man who never dies going.) Privateers want the hidden treasure of Zolov. Mysterious nation wants to build secret air field at Zolov. Phantom is in the middle. Everyone tries to kill the man who never dies. For 15 exciting chapters we see how the "Phantom" eludes death and escapes periless traps.The extras include; a One Chapter commentary by famous comic strip writer Max Allan Collins, Biographies, and comic book art.This is a great secret serial rediscovered for us to watch once again. Enjoy."
If you are a fan of the Phantom, you have gotta watch this!
E. LUND | Stevens Point, WI USA | 01/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a huge fan of Lee Falks' Phantom, I have tried to track down this seriel for quite awhile. I was able to obtain from a collecter who had this seriel before it was made available again to the public. Let me just say that Tom Tyler does a great job of playing the Phantom! Obviously this seriel does not have the production value of the Adventures of Captain Marvel, but it does have an excelent storyline that could fit into any Indiana Jones movie. This seriel does a much better job of establishing the mystique of the Phantom with the natives of Bengali and the mystery of the Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks. This has alot of action with the Phantom and Devil and the Phantom battles a gigantic gorilla. This ends up being a guy in an ape suit but it is a pretty cool looking menacing suit and not just a cheesy gorilla outfit. It is overall fun and a blast to watch if you are a Phantom fan. Anyone who enjoys old movie seriels knows the formulas used so don't expect groundbreaking cliffhangers. This may not be the best seriel ever made but it is a very well done seriel and one I recommend if you like action/adventure heroes."
One of Columbia's best, fun for serial fans, great print
Scott MacGillivray | Massachusetts, USA | 01/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most Columbia cliffhangers were made by independent producers, but in 1938-39 and 1943-44 Columbia made its own serials, using the studio's many sets, facilities, and contract players. Columbia's home-grown serials are very efficient, and THE PHANTOM is no exception.It's a jungle serial, so this writer expected a lot of pedestrian dialogue scenes embellished with old wild-animal footage. It's true that the first chapter falls into this pattern while the story is being set up, but from there it's a lot of fun, almost all of it staged for this production, with Tom Tyler an ideal Phantom. For some reason the supporting cast was not credited, but fans of Columbia will easily recognize Kenneth MacDonald (terrific as the suave villain), Dick Curtis (great to see him play a benign role, for once), Ernie Adams (in a bigger-than-usual role as the Phantom's pal), and some familiar faces in the goon squad (George Chesebro, Wade Crosby, Kermit Maynard, I. Stanford Jolley, Al Hill). Good stuntwork and brisk direction (by B. Reeves Eason) keep this one moving, with Tom Tyler in there punching through 15 chapters. Ace, the Phantom's handsome dog, later became "Rusty" the German shepherd in Columbia's family series.THE PHANTOM has two pleasant surprises for the Columbia serial fan. The recap narration is exceptionally brief (even though the recap footage is lengthy). And each closing "teaser" of next week's episode does NOT spoil the suspense by showing the imperiled hero out of danger. Every cliffhanger in THE PHANTOM keeps the viewer guessing, for a welcome change.The print is excellent, with fine picture and sound. Only Chapter 11 has soundtrack trouble for a few minutes, and the video producers have remedied it as best they could. The DVD release also includes commentary by Max Allan Collins of "Dick Tracy" fame. Definitely of interest to serial collectors, and fans of Columbia's "B" movies and short subjects will especially enjoy this."
Pretty Darn Nifty
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 11/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Republic was certainly best known for serials, but other studios often got into the act. One of these was Columbia Pictures. In truth, Columbia's serials weren't anything to write home about--but there was one exception: the 1943 THE PHANTOM, which cracks along at a memorable pace with an entertaining storyline, some excellent fight choreography, visually interesting set pieces, and a truly fine performance from Tom Tyler in the title role.
Tom Tyler (1903-1954) was a handsome, well-built man who played in well over 150 films between 1924 and 1953--but whose final years was marred by rheumatoid arthritis that reduced him to small supporting roles. But he was very much at his peak in 1941 when he appeared in the legendary Republic serial THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL--and no less so for the 1943 THE PHANTOM. Seen today, many serial "super heroes" of the 1930s and 1940s look more than a little chubby in their skin-tight costumes, but not Tyler: he had the body to carry it off, and if his acting chops weren't up to the standards of Hollywood's A-List actors they were perfect for this sort of comic book fun.
The story finds the peace of jungle tribes threatened by the evil Dr. Bremmer (Kenneth MacDonald), who seeks to create an airbase for use by an unfriendly country at the long-lost jungle city of Zoloz. But in order to locate the hidden city, Bremmer must obtain "the keys"--pieces of a puzzle-like map--from newly arrived Professor Davidson (Frank Shannon) and his party. Can the Phantom, with the aid of his clever dog Devil, foil Bremmer, protect Davidson, and bring peace to the jungle once more?
You better believe it, but before he does there are crocodiles, lions, tigers, a "fire princess," and booby-traps galore to overcome, most of them cleverly imagined and all of them expertly performed. Director B. Reeves Eason keeps everything moving at a sharp pace, and if the dialogue and cinematography are seldom inspired they are never less than entertaining, and there's not a dull moment in all fifteen chapters.
Like many serials, THE PHANTOM does adopt certain racial sensibilities that will cause modern viewers to roll their eyes from time to time. It is actually a bit difficult to tell where this film is supposed to be set: at times the script seems to imply Africa, at other times it seems to imply South America, and the "natives" are pretty much clumsy white men in dark make-up who look silly in diaper-like costumes. Even so, the thing goes like a house afire, and if you're interested in the serial genre this is one you can't afford to miss.
The VCI DVD edition features a nice commentary by Max Allan Collins on "Chapter One," a handful of biographies, and samples of comic book art and lobby cards; the real plus, however, is the quality of the film itself, which is quite fine--and this in spite of an instance where the soundtrack was lost and had to be re-created by modern actors. The picture quality is very good and the sound is more than adequate. Recommended to serial fans everywhere!