The Clutching Hand
The Amazing Exploits of the Clutching Hand
Louis Weiss for Weiss Productions
directed by Albert Herman
starring Jack Mulhall, Ruth Mix, Marion Shilling, William Farnum, Yakima Canutt, Rex Lease, Reed Howes, Mae Busch, Bryant Washburn, Robert Frazer, Gaston Glass, Mahlon Hamilton, Charles Locher (= Jon Hall), Franklyn Farnum, Knute Erickson, Henry Hall, Snub Pollard, Milburn Morante, William Desmond, Bull Montana
based on a novel by Arthur B. Reeves adaptation by George M. Merrick, Eddie Graneman, screenplay by Leon D'Usseau, Dallas Fitzgerald, electrical effects by Kenneth Strickfaden, music by Lee Zahler
Via television, professor Gironda (Robert Frazer) announces to the board
of the corporation he works for that he has deviced a way to chemically
produce gold, & he is prepared to hand the formula over to them.
Before that can happen though, the professor is attacked & kidnapped
by a person or persons unknown, the formula stolen, & journalist
Walter Jameson (Rex Lease), fiancé of the professor's daughter Verna
(Marion Shilling), gets beaten up for his attempt to save the professor.
Finding himself witless, he calls in master detective Craig Kennedy
(Jack Mulhall) for investigations, who soon uncovers that the crime was
indeed committed by the Clutching Hand, master criminal &
arch enemy of the super sleuth, & whose true identity is of course
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But the Clutching Hand failed to bring the whole formula into
his possession, now devicing many a way to get the missing pages as well to
lead Kennedy & Jameson off his trail, possibly kill them. He uses
radio controlled cars & bombs, has the Gironda-household bugged,
abducts Gironda's secretary Sheila (Ruth Mix) to find the formula &
& speaks to his henchmen via television (!).
& then there's also
ex-con Mitchell (Robert Walker), who has some sinister dealings with
Gironda's wife (Mae Busch), & who turns out to be her ex-husband
blackmailing her, some con-men who want to steal her jewels & in the
end turn out to have nothing to do with the gold formula, a mysterious captain Hansen
(Knute Erickson) whose ship is used in many a sinister plot of the
Clutching Hand plus everyone on the corporation's director's board & Gironda's attorney, wanting to get their hands on the gold
The Clutching Hand though - is Gironda himself, who never
really invented the gold formula in the first place but made up the
whole plot to obscure this fact, plus to make an enormous amount of
money at the stocks market. In the end though, he dies when gone half
crazy & accidently electrocuted in his own lab.
Old fashioned (even back then) mystery serial that relies
more on its whodunit plot-elements than on action - which is
unfortunate since the story is vastly overpopulated, with most of the
characters not properly introduced into the story & seemingly just
there to act suspicious for a few minutes in order to keep the audience
guessing, before disappearing from the story again altogether. When in
the end it is revealed who the Clutching Hand really is, you might
probably have lost interest - & furthermore, the solution is not all
that credible anyways.
The character of Craig Kennedy - the scientific
detective - is largely forgotten nowadays, but in the 1910's,
20's & 30's was a popular pulp character, appearing in his creator
Arthur B.Reeves' many novels about him, serials (The Perils of Elaine
, The Radio Detective  & this one) as well as
feature films (Unmasked , also produced by Louis Weiss, for