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The Clutching Hand
The Amazing Exploits of the Clutching Hand

USA 1936
produced by
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

Craig Kennedy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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 unknown.

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 formula.

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 [1915], The Radio Detective [1926] & this one) as well as feature films (Unmasked [1929], also produced by Louis Weiss, for Artclass).


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


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