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King of the Carnival

USA 1955
produced by
Franklin Adreon (associate) for Republic
directed by Franklin Adreon
starring Harry Lauter, Fran Bennett, Keith Richards (II), Robert Shayne, Gregory Gaye, Rick Vallin, Robert Clarke, Terry Frost, Mauritz Hugo, Lee Roberts, Chris Mitchell, Stuart Whitman, Tom Steele, George De Normand
written by Ronald Davidson, music by R. Dale Butts

serial

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The treasury department follows a ring of counterfeiters to a travelling circus - where they ask acrobat Bert (Harry Lauter) for assistance in smoking out the counterfeiters. No sooner is he hired that the baddies make an attempt on his and his girlfriend/stage partner June's (Fran Bennett) life, sabotaging his trapeze act over a cage of lions.

Bert is quick to figure the riggers Daley (Keith Richards) and Travis (Terry Frost) were behind this, and they soon enough make a hasty getaway. And it's true, they are part of the counterfeiting ring, are the contact persons of the money printer Zorn (Robert Shayne) himself, an Eastern European citizen who prints money in a shipwreck underwater with the intention of shipping it out of the country to Europe to this way devaluate the US Dollar. But even he has a boss - a mysterious figure who might work with the circus, but whose identity is unknown. This mystery man is more than eager to have Bert removed permanently - mostly with the help of Daley and Travis, but this only leads to a series of chases and shootouts that bring Bert closer and closer to the top secret shipwreck. Eventually, this leads to a big shootout in which Daley, Travis and Zorn all die, and all the printing equipment is secured ... and their boss is so clumsy he reveals himself to be the circus owner (Robert Shayne) when he tries to make too quick a getaway AFTER those who could have identified him are killed. He ultimately dies falling off a trapeze, fittingly ...

 

This last ever Republic serial shows above else why the format was put to rest: Apparently, nobody showed any real interest in making this something special anymore, so the storytelling is lame, the action is repetitive (even if it's spiced up with footage from earlier better serials, reaching as far back as to the 1930's), everything is reduced to a handful of locations, and even if the story is about a global crisis, there are only a handful of characters involved. And while the story at least tries to be current, picking up on a Cold War scenario, it rather clumsily marries the basic plot to a circus background and leaves way too much unexplained (like why print forged Dollars in the USA if they are meant for the foreign market, and how can a single hand-operated printing press ever bring a currency as strong as the Dollar to a collapse? Now add to that a lazy direction and an at best mediocre cast and you've got ... well, not really a disaster, just something you've seen much better elsewhere.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD