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Category:    Home > Reviews > Serial > Super Hero > Adventure > Captain Midnight (VCI serial set)

Captain Midnight (Serial set/VCI)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Chapters: C+



Some heroes of the past are forgotten and one of the ones we always hear about, but never see these days is Captain Midnight.  That may have been Capt. Albright’s code name on the legendary radio show, but Columbia Pictures took it further to make him a sort of superhero.  This is a good idea, but the serial suffers as it works best when the disguised captain shows up, which is not enough.


The radio show went back to 1938 and was strongly established, so as was the case in so many hero and radio characters, this serial was the first screen appearance of Midnight.  Columbia got the costume right for a change, though it was not as tough as doing Batman, Robin or Superman.  Maybe deviating too much form the radio program is one of the reasons for the pullback, but the best moments are later in the serial and when the Midnight persona shows up.  Regular villain Ivan Shark makes a good villain and fans know that his appearance here is one of his all-time classic battles.


The full frame image is off of a late analog master that has some rippling here and there, but the original print material is decent.  Too bad many of the night scenes are too dark, more evidence of the analog legacy.  However, there is no better looking version on DVD right now.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono fares better, sounding just fine.  Extras include trailers, three biographies, a photo gallery set to music and four other serial trailers on DVD 1, and a VCI compendium of dozens of serials they already have in print on DVD 2.


A later 1954 – 1956 show also materialized as the radio show continued to its end, then the character disappeared.  The original shows are still hunted by collectors, while the tie-in toys and premiums continue to be expensive and highly sought.  Once you get into it, you get the fun part.  No doubt this has influenced Indiana Jones and the endless imitators that included airplanes, including The Rocketeer to some extent and the current Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow, which may be the most explicit shades of the legendary captain yet.  That alone is reason enough to see this Captain Midnight serial at least once before you see Sky Captain.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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