Science Fiction Serials: A Critical Filmography of the 31 Hard SF Cliffhangers : with an Appendix of the 37 Serials with Slight SF Content
Destination Moon; George Pal's 1950 Technicolor epic, is generally cited as the first noteworthy science fiction film. Usually ignored or casually dismissed in genre histories are the serials, the low-budget chapterplays exhibited as Saturday matinee fare and targeted almost exclusively at children. Lacking stars and top-notch writers or directors, the serials went largely unnoticed and unacknowledged by either critics or by the film industry. Yet serials were financially important to the Hollywood studios, and were often free to exploit risky or outlandish subjects that producers of distinguished movies would not touch.
Influential serials such as The Phantom Empire (1935) and Flash Gordon (1936) finally brought science fiction themes to the big screen. Those serials and 29 others are exhaustively covered in this work, which provides complete cast and credit information along with plot descriptions and historical commentary for each serial. Video distributors (if available) are also listed.
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The Vanishing Shadow 1934
Flash Gordon 1936
Dick Tracy 1937
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12 chapters actor Ashe Atom Barin Batman and Robin blast bomb Brand Brick Bradford Buck Rogers Buster Crabbe Capt Captain Video Cass and Rand Cast Chapter Titles Claire Columbia comic book Copperhead Crash Crimson Ghost Dale Dale Van Sickel Death destroy Dick Tracy director Dorn Earth Ergro escape explodes Feature version fight Film editors Flash Gordon serials Flash Gordon's Trip flying footage futuristic George Grayson and Corby Grood henchmen Home Video Howard Lydecker invisible Jack Jean and Larry John Kane Kane's Katzman Kirk Alyn Lost City Lydecker Martian Mephisto meteorite Ming Ming's Morgan movie Music Mystery Island Phantom Empire plane Prof Purple Monster Purple Monster Strikes radio ray gun Reardon released Republic Republic's rescue Richards robot Rocket rocketship role Rulu Satan scenes science fiction Screenplay secret ship special effects Superman Tallen television trap tribesmen Trip to Mars Video availability William William Witney Wizard Zarkov Zombies Zorka