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The Purple Monster Strikes

USA 1945
produced by
Ronald Davidson for Republic
directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet, Fred C. Brannon
starring Dennis Moore, Linda Stirling, Roy Barcroft, James Craven, Bud Geary, Mary Moore, John Davidson, Joe Whitehead, Emmett Vogan, George M.Carleton, Kenne Duncan, Rosamunde James, Monte Hale, Wheaton Chambers, Fred Howard, Anthony Warde, Ken Terrell, George Chesebro, John Daheim, Fred Graham, Carey Loftin, Robert Blair, Lane Chandler, Tom Steele, Dale Van Sickel
written by Royal K. Cole, Albert DeMond, Basil Dickey, Lynn Perkins, Joseph F. Poland, Barney A. Sarecky, music by Mort Glickman, special effects by Howard Lydecker, Theodore Lydecker

serial

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A Martian spacecraft crashlands on earth, and the first man on site is exactly the man the spacecraft's pilot, later dubbed the Purple Monster (Roy Barcroft) wanted to see, scientist professor Layton (James Craven), who just happens to be in the final stages of designing a rocketship (or jetplane, as it's called here) to fly to Mars. The thing is, the Martians want to conquer earth, but are no good rocketship builders (which is why the Purple Monster crashlanded in the first place), thus they need Layton's assistance. So the Purple Monster kills the 'professor, steals his plans for the jetplane, teams up with local crook Garrett (Bud Geary) ... and then he takes over the professor's body, to a) not leave a corpse behind to arouse suspicion, and b) be in a position to get all the parts for his jetplane from the company the professor was working for.

The jetplane company though is pretty worried about the missing designs and starts tome investigations, with the professor's niece Sheila (Linda Stirling) and her boyfriend Craig (Dennis Moore) doing most of thge work. They soon find out about the purple monster and that it is secretly building a rocketship somewhere (actually in the professor's secret basement), but they of course do not know that the monster is actually the professor himself ... which makes their investigations all the more difficult, because the monster - as the professor - knows about each and every of their actions and manages to always remain one step ahead of them.

What follows are the usual shootouts, fistfights and chases as Garrett and the purple monster try to collect the parts for their jetplane while Craig and Sheila try to prevent them from doing so - but their success varies. In one instant, the purple monster is actually helped by another Martian, originally named Marcia (Mary Moore), but she falls off a cliff after a fight with Sheila. When still alive though, Marcia had temporarily taken over the body of a scientist's assistant (Rosemonde James), and that leads Craig and Sheila to finally suspect the professor of being behind everything - and from then on it's smooth sailing, as our lead couple are quick to discover the purple monster's secret basement and wrestle down all his henchmen. Only the purple monster himself seems to manage to escape, anmd by rocketship, too, but it has left a raygun dubbed the Annihilator back at his workshop (it was supposed to blow the place up), which Craig ultimately uses to pluck the monster's rocketship out of the air.

 

A few notes about The Purple Monster Strikes:

Despite the fact that the serial's lead villain is dubbed purple monster, he looks almost disappoinbtingly humanoid.

Despite the fact that this is one of the first alien invasion movies, it follows the formula of non-sci-fi- and non-alien-invasion-serials almost to the t.

Despite the fact that Linda Stirling was one of the few action heroines of her time, she leaves most of the action to Dennis Moore in this one and deespite the fact that she engages in the occasional fight, her role rather resembles female stereotypes of the time.

 

All this though is not to say that The Purple Monster Strikes is a bad serial as such. Sure it's formulaic as can be and not half as inventive as one would a serial about an alien invasion expect to be, but your typical serial action mixed with a few sci-fi-ideas as such doesn't sound like too bad a blend, now does it?

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD