way Joan's character is treated is SO typical of 1950s cinema. As
you may know, one of the most common things in movie serials was women
getting knocked out all the time. That, and the whole "this isn't
a job for woman" speech that they're told all the time. She's
basically eye-candy, and a reason for fathers to take their kids to see
this serial every week. The actress who plays her, Aline Towne,
is very pretty. I like her a lot. She acts well, but just
isn't given the heroic spotlight of Cody. Basically a
The very title of this serial is misleading.
"Radar Men From the Moon" may sound cooler than "Atomic Men From the
Moon", but the latter is more accurate. The moon men use a lot of
atomic guns. Radar is barely even mentioned in this serial,
except for Chapter 3 for a few brief minutes when they're using radar
to track down Cody's spaceship in order to shoot it down. Other
than that, EVERYTHING is atomic.
One last silly thing worth mentioning is: "How
come the moon looks EXACTLY like the desert on Earth where Cody's ship
I suppose I've razzed the picture enough now where I
can tell you about the good things you will see in this serial.
After all, I'm not a critic and I wouldn't even be talking about this
show if I didn't like it. Here is a list:
* The concept of the
Commando Cody character. I like the idea he's a
scientist/superhero whose identity isn't at all secret. He's very
much like the Fantastic Four would be a decade later in the respect
that everyone knows their names and what they do for a living.
Cody's costume is cool, too. It seems to me that he must have
been a direct inspiration for "The Rocketeer" film character four
This is a show I think any film buff
has to see at least once. It's one of the most famous
science-fiction epics ever. Besides that, this is a fun show to
watch even for the substandard production. It's all optimistic,
encourages imagination in the minds of little children, and makes you
happy when you see it.
* The scenes of Commander Cody in flight are great. It's always
been difficult for filmmakers to convincingly show a flying man, but
this film does it very well. Consider the fact that these scenes
were done in the primitive days of movie special effects and you will
be amazed, too. Cody flying looks believable, which is good
because it's an important part of what he does.
* They show a lot of disaster footage throughout the serial. The
filmmakers at Republic Pictures actually borrowed this footage from a
lot of earlier Republic serials. It doesn't matter. The
footage is quite excellent. Lava flows, oil rigs blowing up,
trains derailing, and similar things show up great on film, and they're
cleverly worked into the story.
* The car chases are excellent! One reason is that all the cars
are classic cars when cars still looked good. Another reason is
that the stunt driving is a bit riskier than in shows with car chases
made today. Real crashes and crazy driving make for movie
* Aline Towne, as Joan, is HOT!
* Last, but not least, is Clayton Moore (TVs "Lone Ranger") as thug
Graber. I've always liked Clayton Moore because it looks like he
can beat people up. He's got quite a build to him, and he's just
as convincing as a bad guy as he is a good guy.