A mixed bag that received mixed reviews when released in 1994, this lavish film works overtime to honor the spirit and style of the vintage pulp novels and radio shows that made The Shadow a household name in the 1930s and... more » '40s. Alec Baldwin plays the Shadow, a.k.a. Lamont Cranston, who arrives in New York from his decadent life in Tibet, fully reformed and disciplined in his ability "to cloud men's minds." A crime fighter who lurks in the dark recesses of the city, the Shadow faces his most deadly challenge when Shiwan Khan (John Lone), the last surviving descendant of Genghis Khan, hatches a plot to conquer the world. The scheme involves a madman (Tim Curry), a hapless scientist (Ian McKellen), and various traps designed to catch and kill the Shadow, who must also contend with his blossoming romance with Margo Lane (Penelope Ann Miller), a slender beauty capable of a little mind play of her own. The movie's art deco production design turns out to be a scene-stealer when the plot drags, and in the title role Baldwin is never given enough good material to create a compelling character. Still, The Shadow is true to the legacy that inspired it, admirably avoiding any conspicuous compromise of its 1930s style and setting. If you can't get into the story, you're sure to be hooked by the look of the production, which is never less than dazzling. --Jeff Shannon« less
Kurt A. Johnson | North-Central Illinois, USA | 11/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While leading a dissipated life in Tibet, Lamont Cranston (Played by Alec Baldwin) falls under the influence of an ancient wise man (James Hong) who teaches him how to use an ancient wisdom to fight for good. Returning to the United States, Cranston takes on the role of The Shadow, a nearly magical hero who wages war on the forces of crime. But, things are about to get much harder. Shiwan Khan (John Lone), the last descendent of Genghis Khan has a plan to take over the whole world. As Shiwan Khan hash similar powers to his own, only The Shadow can hope to overcome him. [Color, created in 1994, with a running time of 1 hour, 48 minutes.]After hearing numerous negative comments about this movie, I watched it with some trepidation. However, I must admit that I was quite pleasantly surprised. This movie is stunningly produced, with excellent scenes. The characters are interesting, even if not often believable. The action is quite gripping, but is restrained, thus keeping the movie within a PG-13 rating. With no overt sex, and restrained violence, this movie is very family-friendly. So, if you looking for a good Saturday night movie to watch, then I recommend this movie to you."
Very Good movie, Questionable DVD
Leslie T. Bartiromo | 05/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the movie in the theater and enjoyed it very much! The ending was a bit abrupt but the ride was great. Baldwin played the part just right and the whole world of The Shadow was very well done. The only problem I have with the DVD is that, to my knowledge, it has never been released in wide screen format. How Universal could release such a good movie in pan-and-scan only is a mystery. Even the DTS version isn't in wide screen! Aside from that, I think this movie would be a pleasent suprise to sci-fi fans."
Moody Fun To Tickle Your Psyche
Kimberly Murphy-Smith | Laurel, MD USA | 10/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...though how in the (blank) could Universal have released this on DVD and NOT done WIDESCREEN? The DTS transfer is as crisp and clear as you'd ever want, but this is a movie of astounding visual scope that cries out for a widescreen version. (I have this movie on VHS, DVD, and Dolby Digital Laserdisc, and the DDLD is by far the best of the three, because it's widescreen and the DD is amazingly crisp for LD.)Still, though, there's a lot to like about this movie: Alec Baldwin is dead-on perfect as Lamont Cranston and his darker side, The Shadow; Baldwin can go from charming to chilling with one flex of his facial muscles, and that ability is nicely on display here, even if The Shadow is buried under a hat and cloak and heavy makeup. Penelope Ann Miller looks gorgeous as Margo Lane, the blonde bombshell with a brain to match, but isn't challenged much by the material. John Lone chews up scenery as Shiwan Khan, last descendent of Genghis Khan and darker reflection of The Shadow's edgy goodness. The art deco sets are terrific; the music is rich and moody; the visual scope of 1933 New York City is breathtaking.I recommend this one with qualifications: If/when a widescreen version comes out, get it instead of the other DVD or VHS versions. But the movie itself is well worth seeing, particularly if you're an old-time radio fan."
Kimberly Murphy-Smith | 02/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I will never be able to understand why THE SHADOW (1994) is so underrated. Sure, there are things I would have changed, but--the acting was convincing, the special effects dazzling, the dialog witty--and it the film was appropriately set in New York. The film borrows from both the pulps and the radio show. The Shadow is appropriately clad with an eerie, echoing voice. Shiwan Khan is properly cruel but humorous (how can a Tibetan have pupils THAT big??) This is not exactly a family movie. There is some language, a scene with scantily-clad concubines. Oh, and the demon-possessed knife called the Purba. Overall, a faithfully adapted crime fighter/superhero movie. Highly recommended."
Movie 5 stars, Aspect Ratio and Transfer: 1 star.
BL | California, USA | 09/25/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is probably my choice for "most underrated movie" ever.
I love the premise, characters, casting, and especially the score. It will be old news to Batman Begins fans, due to similarities in origin (rich man loses his identity in Asia to return a transformed crime-fighting force)... but keep in mind, this movie came out a decade earlier, and the Shadow is older than the Batman in general. Also, Cranston (a.k.a. the Shadow) is darker than Batman.
Baldwin is great as the gravelly-voiced Shadow, but belts out a good maniacal laugh when he needs too. You can't stop looking at the Shadow. Penelope Ann Miller also turns in a very good performance, as does John Lone as the villain.
The DOWNSIDE to this disc is that it very much lacks in transfer and aspect ratio. It's presented in 4:3 (1.33: 1), for boxy old TV... a real letdown for a great film. The transfer is also very poor... dirt and scratches appear obviously in the opening titles.
Still, it is very much worth seeing - a lot of fun and an absolute MUST for anyone who enjoyed Batman, but it will not live up to your system if you have a top of the line audio/visual setup."