I was always such a big fan of movie serials and pulp superheroes even before my initiation in to comic books. I loved characters like Superman and The X-Men, but I also loved The Shadow, Commander Cody, and the Green Hornet. Some of those heroes made up some of my most entertaining fantasies, and it wasn’t a big adjustment considering most of the nineties’ superhero movies were mainly adaptations of pulp heroes like “The Phantom” and “The Rocketeer.” Kerry Conran remains one of the most prophetic filmmakers of all time.
Following a death in his father’s family, a young boy is dropped off at his maternal grandfather so that his parents can go to the funeral. Once there, grandpa puts him to work and shows him a few things about baseball. As this happens, the odd neighbor comes and goes on the property. As things advance, young Henry has to go get this neighbor for assistance and things go from bad to worse, forcing him to fend for himself and fight for his life.
Olive Films brings the 1955 Republic movie serial “Panther Girl of the Kongo” to blu-ray form with every episode of the cliff hanger adventures for fans. Phyllis Coates as Jean Evans is the heroine and adventurer who has been taken in to confidence by the African tribe the Utange. There she lives among the natives and begins helping them fend off various threats to their way of life. This includes a mad scientist who uses various monsters and experiments to battle with Evans. He and his cronies will do everything to push the Utange out of their village for the sake of a very valuable diamond mine.
The way these serials kept people coming back to theaters to see them were by repetition and a steady stream of it. If you can appreciate the kitsch value and camp behind “Commander Cody” you could probably ignore the inherent repetitive storylines that follow it. Commander Cody is doing something top secret. There’s a villain who is spying on him. Commander Cody is also spying on them, oddly enough. The villain’s gun wielding henchmen take Commander Cody’s sidekick, the spunky Joan, hostage. Cody then has to go and save her, and wins the day. These serials deliver what the audience wants, even if it can get kind of tedious; especially since the compilation of “Sky Marshal of the Universe” episodes amount to almost four hundred minutes total.