American, Chinese and Australian agents join forces to stop the Nazis from obtaining the formula for synthetic fuel.
Secret Agent x-9
Chapter 4: Floodlight Murder
Based on the ’30s comic-strip character, Secret Agent X-9 was a black-and-white adventure serial from Universal. This 1945 version stars a young Lloyd Bridges as the American hero Phil Corrigan, also known as Secret Agent X-9. He joins up with Chinese agent Ah Fong (Keye Luke) and Australian agent Lynn Moore (Jan Wiley) to defeat the bad guy, Japanese agent Nabura (Victoria Horne).
Secret Agent X-9 was a popular comic strip character of the 30s and 40s. Two serials of the same name were made by Universal (1937 & 1945) based on the character.
This one, released in 1945 starred Lloyd Bridges in the lead role. Bridges was just emerging as a star and was a far better actor than most of the other serial heroes of the day.
The story takes place in 1943 on Shadow Island an island of intrigue off the coast of China, which has been allowed to remain neutral by the Japanese. Naturally secret agents from both sides of the war descend upon the island which is governed by self-proclaimed owner Lucky Kamber (Cy Kendall). The chief villain of the piece is the sinister Japanese agent, Nabura (Victoria Horne).
A Japanese scientist Hakahima (Benson Fong) accidentally discovers that aviation fuel can be manufactured cheaply by mixing an element called “722″ with distilled water. Nabura devises a plan whereby an agent whose face is surgically altered to look like the American scientist who has the formula to “722″, will be smuggled into the U.S. to steal it. Lynn Moore (Jan Wiley) an Australian agent (with an American accent) learns of the plan and informs her superiors. The U.S. sends in Secret Agent X-9 (Bridges) to foil the plot. Chinese agent Ah Fong (Keye Luke) becomes X-9′s partner.
This serial was blessed with a stellar cast of veteran performers. Bridges made a dashing hero. Keye Luke was an ideal partner. Jan Wiley was a fetching heroine. Victoria Horne, made up to look Japanese, goes through the serial looking like she has her eyes closed. Veteran baddie Cy Kendall is suitably evil as he tries to play both sides against the other. Hinds is basically wasted as Solo. His purpose is eventually made clear but not until the final chapters. Gene Stutenroth (aka Roth) looks more like a train conductor than a German officer. And “B” movie vet Edmund Cobb has a small role as the bartender.
All in all this is an excellent WWII spy story. It has excellent production values and has an exciting climax in the final chapter. It is a pity that Universal went out of the serial business in 1946.
Cast and Crew:
* Lloyd Bridges/Phil Corrigan (Secret Agent X-9)
* Keye Luke/Ah Fong
* Jan Wiley/Lynn Moore
Director: Lewis Collins, Ray Taylor
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Audio/Visual: sound, black & white
Date Release: 1945
Additional details in: IMDB
Video streaming: courtesy of www.finemoviesonline.com
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Filed Under: Secret Agent x-9