'The Vanishing Shadow' [Blu-ray 2K Remaster]
(Onslow Stevens, Ada Ince, Walter Miller, James Durkin, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / NR / (1934) 2019 / VCI Entertainment - MVD Visual)
Overview: VCI Entertainment is pleased to present this classic cliffhanger from Universal Pictures, which has never had an official video release on any format, now available for the first time on Blu-ray and produced from the original studio film elements!
'The Vanishing Shadow' is a 12-episode Universal serial in which a son avenges the death of his father at the hands of corrupt politicians.
He develops a wide variety of complex devices in his crusade - ray guns, robots and even a 'vanishing belt' - and the serial also features what is believed to be the first appearance of a hand-held ray gun in film!
Blu-ray Verdict: It has been a journey of over 40 years, but fans of the classic theatrical serial genre are being rewarded for the long, long wait.
Back in the 1970s, VCI Entertainment acquired the “non-theatrical” distribution rights to 48 serials from Universal Pictures through a third party.
After an arduous struggle with “chain-of-title” documentation, Universal Pictures has finally turned over the original film elements to 38 of those serials and is currently working on tracking down the materials for the remaining ten.
VCI Entertainment will be bringing the entire collection to market as either 2K or 4K scans from either the original negatives or remaining fine grain elements (35mm black and white positive elements) during the coming months.
First up is 'The Vanishing Shadow' [Blu-ray 2K Remaster] from 1934 where an electrical engineer, Stanley Stanfield (Onslow Stevens), brings his newest invention to the famous electrical wizard, Carl Van Dorn (James Durkins) - a vest-like apparatus that enables the wearer to vanish, leaving only a shadow.
Of course, Van Dorn is vastly impressed and with the aid of the machine, the pair set out to bring about the downfall of power-crazed Wade Barnett (Walter Miller) and his crony Dorgan (Dick Cramer); whose political-group activities, through a vicious smear campaign, had hounded Stanfield's father to death.
Stanfield's efforts are complicated by the fact that his girlfriend, known to him as Gloria Grant (Ada Ince), is really Barnett's daughter, who has rejected her father and goes by an alias.
Wizard Van Dorn also stays busy inventing new gadgets to fight the gang with but, someway or another, he or Stanfield or Gloria always end up as the victim rather then Barnett, Dorgan or their hench men!
Going back to the drawing board in chapter 10 (The Iron Death), Van Dorn comes up with a short-wave radio controlled robot and, in chapter 11 (The Juggernaut), he remotes it into a room to kill Barnett; but by mistake, the robot attacks Stanfield, who is tied helpless in a chair. Barnett was long gone.
In my opinion, they would have been better served by spending all their time and energy in trying to get rid of the shadow caused by the invisibility vest.
Toss in Ada Ince in the highest-budgeted "film" she ever made, and Edmund Cobb as a derby-hat wearing hench man (looking a lot like "Doiby" Dickles, the Green Lantern's cab-driving pal), and add Kenneth Strickfaden's art-deco lab and amazing electrical gadgets and this little-seen gen is a real Keeper, my friends! This is a brand new 2K Remaster from the Original 35mm Fine Grain enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Original Theatrical Trailer
Liner Notes by Ralph Tribbey
Poster and Photo Gallery
Classic Cartoon & Newsreels