Phantom Ranger (1938)

Approved   |    |  Action, Adventure, Mystery

Phantom Ranger (1938) Poster

A Treasury Department engraver is being held captive by a counterfeiting gang that wants him to make counterfeit plates for them. A lawman is sent to rescue him.


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3 October 2019 | morrisonhimself
| Some good dialogue from great actors, very well directed
Tim McCoy is one of my favorites and I really enjoyed watching him show more personality than usual in this well-directed programmer.

Writers Stanley Roberts and Joseph O'Donnell, credited with the story, in the screenplay by O'Donnell created several speaking parts, and director Sam Newfield let the performers shine.

This is Monogram, so we know there were not millions of dollars spent, but every penny that was spent was used wisely. Except for the opening, with stock footage and, worse, a montage of "news" paper front pages.

After that, though, it was an interesting and even exciting movie, with some really good dialogue, from all the characters.

One of them was played by an actress heretofore unknown to me, Suzanne Kaaren, although it's spelled "Karen" in the opening credits. Her bio here at IMDb shows her to be a good-natured, good-humored lady who mostly enjoyed her career. That's a nice change from so much whining we too often see. In Ms. Kaaren's case, our complaint is that she didn't do even more, and that in what she did she should have been given more credit.

In truth, the byplay between and among all the characters probably out-weighs the action, which is fairly routine, but the photography of that action is superb, with, I guess, the credit to both director Newfield and cinematographer Jack Greenhalgh.

"Phantom Ranger" is another pointless title, but I recommend this film for several reasons: Tim McCoy, good dialogue, gorgeous scenery. I think the version I just watched via Hoopla, a service of some public libraries (which I also highly recommend), has had some music added. It didn't help, but didn't really hurt. Do try to see "Phantom Ranger."

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