“The Hurricane Express” was one of three serials that John Wayne made for Nat Levine and Mascot Pictures after leaving Columbia Pictures following a run-in with mogul Harry Cohn over the affections of a young starlet.
The Hurricane Express
Chapter 3: The Masked Menace
A mad saboteur known only as “The Wrecker” is out to destroy the L&R Railroad! Airline pilot Larry Baker wants swift revenge when his father, a train engineer, is killed in one of the terrorist’s attacks. Baker’s task won’t be easy, though – there is a long list of suspects who hold a grudge against L&R, and the cunning Wrecker has the uncanny ability to disguise himself as any one of them. Hot on the trail, Baker must survive breakneck car chases, violent train crashes and attacks from airplanes if he is to bring the maniac to justice.
description="The Masked Menace"
in the Library of Congress
The second of two projected John Wayne serials produced by genre expert Mascot Pictures, this film used the budget-saving device of having its master criminal wearing variously fiendish rubber masks, offering him the opportunity to resemble every red herring in the large cast. Known only as “The Wrecker” (“That’s him, The Wrecker!” people continuously scream throughout the serial), the villain is attempting to sabotage the L. & R. Railroad in order to bolster a competing airline service. Wayne plays a commercial pilot whose father, the railroad’s chief engineer (J. Farrell MacDonald), is murdered early on. Shirley Grey, as the daughter of a railroad man falsely accused of sabotage, is the damsel-in-distress (although, despite some poster art, she is never actually tied to the tracks), and Tully Marshall plays the president of the railroad. As Wayne had no drawing power whatsoever in 1932, Marshall, a veteran from the early silent era, was actually given star billing along with Conway Tearle, who portrayed the little seen company lawyer. The Hurricane Express survives in a truncated 70-minute feature version, a screening of which actually feels like watching an entire serial in one sitting.
Cast and Crew:
* John Wayne/Larry Baker
* Tully Marshall/Howard L. Edwards
* Conway Tearle/Stevens
Directors: J.P. McGowan & Armand Schaefer
Production Company: Mascot Pictures Corporation
Audio/Visual: sound, B&W
Date Release: 1932
Additional details in: IMDB
Video streaming: courtesy of www.finemoviesonline.com
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Filed Under: The Hurricane Express