Adventure in Sahara (1938)

adventureinsahara_2Starring Paul Kelly, C. Henry Gordon, Lorna Gray, Robert Fiske, Marc Lawrence, Dick Curtis, Stanley Brown, Al Bridge, Ray Bennett, Charles R. Moore, Dwight Frye, Stanley Andrews

Directed by D. Ross Lederman

Expectations: Moderate.

twohalfstar


Adventure in Sahara opens with a lot of mystery. In Paris, a man on a runway receives a telegram just before he is to board a plane. The telegram states that his brother is dead and that he “would know the details.” Indeed, our man Jim did know the details, but he does not share them with us just yet. That’s where the mystery comes in! Anyway, he immediately leaves his job at the airport to join the Foreign Legion, and he asks the recruiting officer to station him under the command of Capt. Savatt. The officer agrees, and with that his Foreign Legion adventure begins!

By focusing on the trials of an entry-level soldier in the Foreign Legion, the film has something of a military vibe, but it actually feels like more of a western than anything else. The film is based around the solitary Fort Agadez in the middle of the Sahara desert, which is constantly under threat from savages Indians Arabs. Of course, this leads to a climax resembling a “Defend the Alamo” situation as the Arabs storm the fort, although in this “western” there are machine guns and hand grenades. Pretty fun stuff. Adventure in Sahara doesn’t necessarily live up to the adventure in its title, but it definitely delivers an interesting story and a fair amount of exotically skinned western action.

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Superman and the Mole Men (1951)

superman mole menSuperman and the Mole Men (1951)
AKA Superman and the Strange People, The Unknown People (Episode title when re-broadcast as a two-parter for Adventures of Superman)

Starring George Reeves, Phyllis Coates, Jeff Corey, Walter Reed, J. Farrell MacDonald, Stanley Andrews, Ray Walker, Hal K. Dawson

Directed by Lee Sholem

Expectations: Low.

twohalfstar


Alright, who’s ready for some Superman? In anticipation of Zack Snyder’s take on Supes, Man of Steel, I’ll be running through 11 films that have previously taken a crack at the last survivor of the planet Krypton. Now what exactly those 11 films are is for me to know and you to find out, but expect things that line up with the grand Silver Emulsion tradition of balancing the mainstream with the not-so mainstream. So once again, who’s ready for some Superman? I can’t hear you! Are you ready?

Oh, so you are ready for some Superman? Well… hmm… this is awkward… in that case, you’ll have to wait. Mostly. Because Superman and the Mole Men isn’t all that much of a Superman movie. He’s in it, and he a few heroic and super things, but mostly it’s about Clark Kent, some intolerant townspeople and a few balding mole men. I had incorrectly assumed that the title referred to some struggle that would occur between Superman and the mole men, and I imagined Superman punching short, squinty-eyed guys in the face, but instead he’s actually protecting the li’l guys! This makes Superman and the Mole Men something of an interesting allegory for the Communist scare in America, and even if it didn’t deliver the super thrills I wanted, it was nice to see Superman protecting the weak and misunderstood mole men. Of course, I would have also accepted him punching them in the face, but when I first envisioned that alternate path I had no way of knowing just how harmless they’d end up being.

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