Police Lieutenant Dan Barton stages a public dismissal from the police department, in order to join a band of Nazi agents/saboteurs and learn their secret code they have been using. To further assist his efforts, Barton assumes the identity of the Black Commando, who is wanted by the villains and police, who are also searching for Barton for a murder charge. So much great stuff happens in this serial. To begin with, Spencer Bennett’s direction is some of the best of that field in serial history, with action a plenty and hardly any slow spots. Paul Kelly may have an annoying toughness to the role, but he carries his performance well. Great WWII example of how spies and saboteurs can be as close as the man you shake hands with. Also extra attraction of the code breaking segments at the end of each chapter. Rating, in terms of serials,- 10 of 10.
Chapter 1: Enemy Passport
A superhero known as The Black Commando battles Nazi agents who use explosive gases and artificial lightning to sabotage the war effort.
Another film made during WW II in which all the German-born actors, or actors with German-sounding names, changed their names for, to use a WW II expression, “the duration.” Here Rudolph Anders chose to be billed as Robert O. Davis and Ludwig Donath opted for Louis Donath, even though they, and most of the other name-change actors of the day, always ended up playing Nazis anyway. This Columbia serial, made after Columbia serial producer Larry Darmour had died, thus making Ralph Cohn the credited producer, finds Police Lieutenant Dan Barton, ordered to contact and smash a mysterious Axis sabotage ring, arranging to have himself thrown off the police force in disgrace. He calls attention to himself by assaulting a high government official, the custodian of a newly-devised formula for the manufacture of synthetic rubber, in a faked “effort” to steal the formula. While under the “protection” of the saboteurs who are still suspicious of him…
Cast and Crew:
Paul Kelly / Lt. Dan Barton
Anne Nagel / Jean Ashley
Trevor Bardette / Jensen
# Writers: Basil Dickey
# Director: Spencer Gordon Bennet
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
Original Air Date: 1942
Audio & Video: Mono – Black and White
Additional details in: IMDB
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Filed Under: The Secret Code