Thursday, August 25, 2011

Classic Serials: Undersea Kingdom, Chapter Five

This week, the full-length version of Undersea Kingdom, Chapter Five: Prisoners of Atlantis.  As with last week, it's a bit of a puzzlement what connects the title with its chapter.  Granted, Diana and Professor Norton are prisoners of Unga Khan, but heck, they've been stuck in that tower since Chapter Two.

In their The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury, Jim Harmon and Donald F. Glut point out while talking about this serial that (their emphasis), "Miracle inventions, such as space vehicles, deathrays, and mechanical men, were often used when the characters were not otherwise engaged in sword battles on horseback or modeling the latest fashions of ancient Rome or Greece.  We wonder what these advanced 'people' wore when their technology was on a par with ours."

To be fair to the Sharad and the Sacred City, though, their technology doesn't seem to be on a much higher plane than their dress sense.  Or is it not being fair to them to point out how retrograde their civilization seems to be?  It makes one wonder what happened to Atlantis, that they could save themselves with a dome of orichalcum, but now, two thousand-plus years later, the best they seem to have is a primitive sort of flamethrower.  Apart from Unga Khan, of course.  How did he get so far ahead of the Sacred City technologically?  And where did he come from?  His name suggests a Mongol.  Have there been Mongols in Atlantis all this time?  Are there other sunken cities?  Are there any farmers and such in Atlantis at all, or just the populations of the Sacred City and Khan's tower?  File these under questions which it's probably just as well Undersea Kingdom didn't waste time answering, but which bug me anyway.

One more question: Is it my imagination, or does Molock look a little like Bob Hope?  He and Bing Crosby should have remade this serial as The Road to Atlantis.  It would have been a gas.

Next week: The Juggernaut Strikes!  And Ronald Reagan fires it!  Thank you!  If you liked my joke, try the veal; it's thirty years old, too.

Nitpicky Notes:

8:01  Why can't Unga Khan see Molock when he's standing right in front of the screen?  Isn't Khan the least bit suspicious that he can't see Hakur?  If the video is shut off, it's a lucky break for our heroes.  Obviously Crash was expecting it to be on, or else he wouldn't have ducked to the side.

9:05  So what was supposed to be in that basket, anyway?  Their laundry?  And how did those two guys not see Billy when they approached it by walking right toward the opening?

Oh, and while I'm asking every question under the sun, why is a mouse when it spins?  And who wrote the Book of Love?

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