5 July 2008 | dbborroughs
Good early serial is an odd mix of locations and situations. Interesting for no other reason then Boris Karloff is a villain
Robert Grant is an American in the east who bears an uncanny resemblance to a Raja. When the Raja is killed by a tiger he was hunting Grant is forced to take his place so that the Raja's cousin won't seize the throne before the rightful heir can ascend. Unfortunately for Grant his friend Harris sells him out to the evil cousin because Grant refused to hold onto the throne and rape the country of all its wealth. What follows is a long chase as Grant tries to prove his innocence while disguised as an Arab (he's jailed for murder but escapes) and help the only one who knows who he really is find her brother who is being held captive until he relays the location of a diamond mine.
Its a complex story that has more chapter breaks then cliffhangers. Shot partially silent this is a good looking serial that is an odd mix of locations that are nowhere near each other (Africa, India, the desert...). Despite not having a music score the film moves along reasonably well, even if the plot does tend to fold back on itself. The cast is pretty good with Boris Karloff one of the baddies looking for the diamond mine. Not the best, nor the worst but worth a look if you're in a forgiving mode, besides where else can you see an ape-man as a henchmen? It should be pointed out that the serial is what many would call racially insensitive. The portrayal of Arabs is mostly as villains and the black natives is of savages with bones through their noses.If you are offended by such portrayals, which were very much of the time this was made, look elsewhere.