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Behind the Mask
(1946 Film)

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About This Film
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Kane Richmond as Lamont Cranston aka The Shadow
Barbara Read as Margo Lane [credited as Barbara Reed]
George Chandler as Moe "Shrevvy" Shrevnitz
Dorothea Kent as Jennie Delaney
Pierre Watkin as Commissioner J.R. Weston
Joseph Crehan as Inspector Cardona
Edward Gargan as Detective Dixon

Director- Phil Karlson
Writer- George Callahan (screenplay), Arthur Hoerl (story)

Behind the Mask (1946)
:  This is the second of Monogram Pictures "The Shadow" films.  Unlike a lot of film series, this film series actually got better with each entry.  The series only lasted for three films, but it would have been interesting to see how good Monogram's "Shadow" could have been with a little more tweaking.

    The main cast is good, like it was in the previous film.  One big drawback:  the recasting of Shrevvy.  In the first film, Shrevvy was played by Tom Dugan.  For the second and third film, Shrevvy was played by George Chandler.  Chandler is a good actor, but he certainly doesn't play Shrevvy as the tough, Brooklyn-ese type that Dugan had, and that Shrevvy was meant to be.  I like Tom Dugan as Shrevvy better.  A nice addition to the cast is Jennie Delaney, the handmaiden to Margo Lane.  She's a ditzy blonde from the streets that is Shrevvy's female counterpart.  Margo tries to teach Jennie how to be a lady, and fails at every turn!  Jennie adds something to the series.  The bad thing is that they don't explain her sudden appearance in the series, or why she knows that Lamont Cranston is The Shadow.  She just popped up out of nowhere!

    As far as the story goes, it is the only one in the series that actually ties to the Shadow character.  Someone is impersonating The Shadow and killing people.  Lamont Cranston, as The Shadow, must clear his name.  This movie opens very interesting.  Blackmailing reporter Jeff Mann is murdered, and The Shadow is blamed.  The mystery is actually interesting in this film, unlike what was passing for mystery in the previous film.  One downside to this film is that a lot of the comedy is overplayed.  That would be fine if this was a wacky "Three Stooges" or "Marx Brothers" movie, but this is a "Shadow" movie, and it deserved more polished comedy.  Barbara Reed's Margo Lane is STILL the most interesting character to follow in this film series.

    Edward Gargan as Detective Dixon, the whiny cop, was pretty funny.  On the whole, this was better than "The Shadow Returns" (1946).  It would have been perfect if Tom Dugan still played Shrevvy, and the comedy was a bit toned down.  Still, it suffers as a "Shadow" movie because there is nothing really super about our superhero.  I can see why some viewers might have been disappointed at the time of this film's release.  However, worth watching for fans of classic mystery films!

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