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The Shadow Returns
(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]
Tom Dugan as Moe "Shrevvy" Shrevnitz
Pierre Watkin as Commissioner J.R. Weston
Joseph Crehan as Inspector Cardona

Director- Phil Rosen
Writer- George Callahan

The Shadow Returns (1946)
:  The filmography of "The Shadow" can be very confusing.  This is certainly not the first "Shadow" movie made.  However, it is the first "Shadow" movie of the short-lived film series by Monogram Pictures.  There were only three "Shadow" films by Monogram, all released in 1946.

    The main actors are all good.  Kane Richmond makes a great Shadow.  Barbara Read as Margo Lane is certainly a plus.  She has a funny, sexy personality that these Shadow movies desperately need.  Her Margo is definitely the most entertaining character to follow in these films.  Tom Dugan does great as Shrevvy, the Shadow's cab driver.  Dugan was replaced in the next two films by George Chandler.

    The problem with these Shadow movies is that they took all the "super" out of the "superhero".  People that follow the radio shows, pulp stories, and comics to the finest detail will probably not find this version of the Shadow that interesting.  Like a lot of film reviewers have said, this movie was a "missed opportunity".  It makes a better detective show than a superhero show.  There is nothing mystical about our hero at all in this film.  He is simply a rich young guy that likes to dress up in costume and solve crimes.  Lamont Cranston is an amateur detective that occasionally dresses as The Shadow.  Only his fiancee, Margo Lane, and cabbie, Shrevvy, know his true identity.

    There is no criminal mastermind in this film.  No super-powered enemy.  This is a type of mystery film that could have been used for any other detective character like Bulldog Drummond, Charlie Chan, or Sherlock Holmes.  It certainly wasn't signature to the Shadow character.  Besides that, the only times we see Lamont Cranston in Shadow disguise seems obligatory.  Yeah, he dresses up in the costume, but for no apparent reasons.  Since the Shadow just skulks around in the shadows and doesn't really meet his enemies head on, he might just as well do it as Lamont Cranston.  Another odd thing is that this version of The Shadow wears a mask over his face, instead of the familiar scarf over the mouth.  What's he trying to be, the "Black Hornet"?

    Jewels are stolen from a grave.  It's learned they contain a formula for the toughest plastic known to man.  This is a fun little movie, but mainly due to the primary actors.  It works better as a comedy than a mystery.  The story idea is interesting, but this is NOT a cleverly written or fine-tuned.  It's hard for us to follow along or figure out because so many plot devices just happen on the fly.  Significant Shadow scenes are sparse.  The most notable Shadow moment is the fight scene in Frobay's warehouse, beginning with the rope swing.  That was well done.

    All in all, this is a good little movie, but not a great Shadow movie.  The best Shadow movie to date is definitely "The Shadow" (1994).

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