- Elf 2017
directed by John English, Elmer Clifton
starring Dick Purcell, Lorna Gray, Lionel Atwill, Charles Trowbridge, Russell Hicks, George J.Lewis, John Davidson, Norman Nesbitt, Frank Reicher, Hugh Sothern, Tom Chatterton, Robert Frazer, John Hamilton, Crane Whitley, Edward Keane, John Bagni, Jay Novello, Wilson Benge, Lynton Brent, Roy Brent, George Byron, James Carlisle, Ed Cassidy, George DeNormand, Kenne Duncan, Terry Frost, Fred Graham, Ralf Harolde, Howard C.Hickman, Charles Hutchison, Jerry Jerome, Jack Kirk, Tom London, Herbert Lytton, George Magrill, LeRoy Mason, Stanley Price, Jeffrey Sayre, George Sherwood, Robert Strange, Harry Strang, Ben Taggart, Dale Van Sickel, Edward Van Sloan
screenplay by Royal K.Cole, Harry L. Fraser, Joseph F.Poland, Ronald Davidson, Basil Dickey, Jesse Duffy, Grant Nelson, based on the comicbook created by Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, published by Timely (later Marvel Comics), music by Mort Glickman, special effects by Theodore Lydecker, Howard Lydecker
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There is a criminal only known as the Scarab around who seems to
be hell-bent to kill all the members of the Mayan Expedition, brilliant
minds all of them, and steal their inventions, treasure maps or whatever
else it is they have in their possession. District attorney Gardner (Dick
Purcell), who at times dresses up as crimefighting superhero Captain
America, is hot on the trail of the Scarab, but the villaim manages to
remain elusive, and nobody knows who he is - apart from the audience, who
is told right at the beginning that the Scarab is actually mild-mannered
Doctor Maldor (Lionel Atwill). Captain America's chase includes all the
usual chases by foot, car, motorbike and airplane, fistfights and
shoot-outs, quite a number of bombs and explosions, plus some rather
fantastic devices including one that can bring the dead back to life.
However, in the end, it's not Captain America but his assistant Gail
(Lorna Gray), who is able to unmask the Scarab. The Captain though, with
the help of the police force, is able to bring Maldor/Scarab and his
henchmen behind bars.
Pretty much your typical action serial of
the superhero vs supervillain-variety (though neither has any superhuman
abilities), a little episodic in nature, but fast-paced and action-filled
enough to make one forgive and forget most of its shortcomings. That said,
Captain America is certainly no milestone serial, just fun to watch
nevertheless. And of course, Lionel Atwill turns in a great performance as
One thing though: The Captain America of
this serial has little but the name and the costume in common with the
supersoldier created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics,
so much so that the most prominent World War II propaganda hero of the
comicbooks has been turned into a regular Batman-style
crimefighter once translated to the screen - which is particularly
interesting since in 1944, as you might know, World War II was still going
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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