Sunday, October 16, 2011

Classic Serials: Undersea Kingdom, Chapter Ten

If anyone's getting into this serial like I am, and has at least $57.95 to blow (as I don't), there's currently an original 11x14" lobby card for this very episode available on eBay, pictured here.  (You can also get a wood resin model of a Juggernaut for $96.00.  Ah, to be rich.  And not care what people think of your interior decorating.)

No kidding, I really am getting to enjoy "Crash" Corrigan in this serial.  Perhaps it's the Stockholm Syndrome from going through this serial in exhaustive detail twice in the last three years.  But for all of Corrigan's... modest talents as an actor, there's a sort of unassuming matter-of-factness about him that I find appealing in an action hero, especially in such outlandish surroundings.

He doesn't quite succeed in getting the audience's identification the way Buster Crabbe did as Flash Gordon.  As I've mentioned before, Crabbe's Flash frequently projected a sense that even he wasn't sure his luck would hold out much longer.  His courage was the sort that's defined as being frightened to death, but proceeding anyway.

By contrast, Crash is more of an old-school pulp hero who's courageous and possessed of many physical skills almost as a matter of course, who doesn't seem really to consider the possibility of failure.  He approaches his adventure in Atlantis with the same straight-ahead determination we saw him apply to football and wrestling in Chapter One.  He'd be insufferable if he weren't so darn nice, so utterly lacking in self-congratulation.  But maybe you get that way when, by the looks of him, you've been a cadet at Annapolis for about fifteen years.

I find it kind of funny how Diana is the sort of character who's thrown in as a romantic interest for the hero, and yet there's no sense that adversity is heightening any sexual tension between them.  Crash seems to have noticed she's a woman, and he may be attracted to her (maybe most noticeable in his smiling reaction to her brashness in inviting herself onto the expedition in Chapter One), but I guess he just figures this isn't the time or place to be making moves on her.  When this is all over, maybe he'll invite her to a dance, and they can get properly acquainted.

And no, I won't stand for any jokes that he's more interested in Billy.

2:00 I suppose "himself" in "in spite of himself" must refer to Professor Norton, although it's amusing to read it as referring to Crash.  "Damn!  I was hoping not to rescue the Professor, but..."

3:26 That's funny, I could have sworn the Volplane was blown to pieces last week.  But Republic wouldn't lie to us, would they?

4:03 I love how abashed Ditmar is.

9:10 Watch the one Black Robe almost lose his balance as he swings around.

14:02 You know, I keep seeing those guys roll that rock, but I never see them use it.  Maybe, as MST3K suggested, they're dung beetles.  Or maybe they're Sisyphus' cousins who didn't piss the gods off as much.

15:20 I don't think I've mentioned this before, but damn, these are the woodenest-sounding swords in all creation.  What's especially silly is that Republic almost had to have Foleyed them in that way.  Surely they didn't pick up the actual sound at that distance?

16:41 Say, what happened to not being able to bomb the Sacred City for fear of rupturing the dome?

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