The Green Archer (serial/VCI)
C Sound: C Extras: C- Chapters: B-
talking about Columbia Pictures’ 1940 serial The Green Archer, the reaction is split by age. Older persons ask if it like Robin Hood,
while younger ask if it is a rip-off of the DC Comics hero The Green
Arrow. As it turns out, it is neither,
especially since it turns out many people are running around as the title
character. Where everyone gets the same
costume is never explained, but it does continue the staple of Columbia serials of “who is it?” and is
often accompanied by giant question marks on the screen.
of those marks show up here, but Victor Jory, who played The Shadow of the
studio in a serial at about the same time, is the lead. It is fair to say that the promotion suggests
he may be the title hero, but since there is not one, that makes this a more
interesting chapter play as a result.
The fights are the usual kind where the film is sped up and the cliffhangers
are not bad, but the mystery of who is the real Archer is undone by a lack of
suspense and a bit of silliness.
said, there is nothing British about the character or the actors, so it is not
a serial that decides to have fun with stuffiness, but there is a castle and
plenty of snake-pit situations for those who want an interesting serial to
check out. It just seems it could have
gone farther for its 302-minutes length.
frame monochrome image is average and has some good Video Black, but being a
few generations down has given it some grain.
Otherwise, the prints are in good shape.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also average, but as clear as a few
generations down can be expected to be.
Extras include four serial trailers, some good biography information on
the cast, and a new VCI promo showing how the company now dominates in the
serial-on-DVD field. The trailers are
not the same from the Jack Armstrong
set, though the promo reel is. VCI once
again makes a serial available to the public whose inavailability was unacceptable. The
Green Archer is one of Columbia’s most somber serials and is
worth a look.
- Nicholas Sheffo