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  • "The Green Archer" is an action packed 15 chapter serial from Columbia. It has all of the serial cliches that we've all come to know.

    First we have the masked hero whose identity is unknown, The crusading crime reporter Spike Holland (Victor Jory), the mad villain with dreams of glory Abel Bellamy (James Craven), the helpless heroine Valerie Hewett (Iris Meredith), her sister Elaine (Dorothy Fay), the dumb cop Captain Thompson (Fred Kelsey), the lame brained henchman Dinky (Kit Guard), secret passage ways, trap doors, numerous fist fights where the hero gets knocked out but never finished off, death defying escapes from certain death etc.

    Abel Bellamy who controls a ring of jewel thieves has framed his brother for murder and taken over the family castle from which he runs his operations. His brother Michael (Kenne Duncan) is involved in a train wreck on his way to prison and is apparently killed. His wife Elaine is kidnapped and taken to the castle and held prisoner. Ace crime reporter Spike Holland whose company had insured much of the stolen jewelry, enters the case. Spike had been a close friend of Michael Bellamy and works closely with his wife's sister Valerie and her father to discover the jewel thieves hideaway/identity and secure Elaine's release.

    Abel Bellamy enlists one of his men Brad, to pose as the Green Archer a legendary figure from the Bellamy Castle past. But of course the "real" Green Archer shows up and the inevitable confusion takes place. Much of the story has Holland fighting with Abel's henchmen and falling into various traps set by the bad guys, only to escape in the nick of time, usually with the help of the "good" Green Archer". Spike must have had a lot of suits because he gets soaked to the skin in several chapters.

    Finally, Spike and the police sort things out and bring the crooks to justice and the Green Archer turns out to be.....

    It wasn't too difficult to tell who the real Green Archer was. In spite of a couple of red herrings, it is rather obvious. There's also some tacky special effects. The back projection shots are amateurish and the miniatures used in the house burning are less than convincing.

    It was good to see veteran villain Jory get to play the hero for once. He did much better in another Columbia serial "The Shadow" released the same year. With his distinctive speaking voice, Jory made a career out of playing smooth talking gang leaders or back shooting henchmen, mostly in westerns. Serial veteran Craven goes way over the top as the chief villain and some of his gang are too dumb to be believed.

    Others in the cast include Robert Fiske as Savini, Craven's nervous second in command, Joseph W. Ross as Inspector Girard and Herbert Evans as the butler Henderson who may not be what he appears to be. Veterans Charles King, Harry Harvey, Bud Osborne, Edmund Cobb, Jack Perrin and Tom London pop in for a chapter or two.

    "The Green Archer" is everything that you'd expect a serial to be.
  • This is one of the better serials. There's a castle with secret doors & passageways everywhere, lots of fist fights, lots of bow & arrow work, bombs, shooting, poison gas, an underground hideaway for automobiles, & spirited acting in an action packed plot. On the down side is redundancy (a trademark of all serials), absurdity (by himself, the hero defeats 6-8 baddies at once in fist fights, even when the baddies have guns!). But overall, a neat serial with a good & satisfying ending. It's also weird watching Victor Jory play the hero, after seeing him play the bad guy in many Hopalong Cassidy movies; he's somewhat more convincing as a bad guy than as a good guy. Iris Meredith is beautiful, if nothing else, as the female lead. I rate it 8/10 for a serial.
  • Norm-309 June 1999
    Altho QUITE a bit different than the Edgar Wallace story on which it's based, this is an excellent serial, none-the-less. Why? Because it's QUITE a bit different than the usual "mad-genius-taking-over-the-world" sort of thing that was the usual theme of serials at that time.

    A crook & his henchmen move into a castle (to be used as a "base of operations"), but they didn't reckon on the "ghost" of the Green Archer who haunts the place. He continually thwarts the crooks in their shady deeds, and it's quite a surprise when he is unmasked at the end of the film.

    An enjoyable film!
  • I would be grateful, if some one, may advise, if it is possible to obtain a copy of the Green Archer, VHS, within Australia. It represents a series of recollections, that usher a time of the Saturday serial and the suspense, to be lived, until the next Saturday. Victor Jory, who spent sometime here in Australia, was always the right person, often for the wrong reason, for each Saturday, in a darkened theatre, often interrupted by a nervous projector.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    You can't always judge a serial by its Columbia cover. In fact, in the years before director Derwin Abrahams and producer Sam Katzman introduced new eras of economy, Columbia's serials on the whole were well worth watching. The Green Archer is still one of the more entertaining efforts of these pre-Katzman years, made well before budgets were stripped to the bone, promising ideas unfulfilled, exciting scripts jettisoned and casts made up of fifth-raters and boring nonentities. Thanks to imaginative art direction and pleasing photography, plus splendid acting and an ingeniously thrilling script, The Green Archer retains its appeal in 2015.

    On the other hand, the condensed version issued by Columbia and now available on an excellent Alpha DVD (the condensed version of 1935's Lost City is on the same disc), is a somewhat mixed bag. True, just about all the nonsensical and other marking-time filler rubbish has been jettisoned, but so have a lot of the great action episodes. It's also a fact that the plot still manages to be a bit repetitive, and, in my opinion, focuses too much attention on Kit Guard, but on the whole, it's still a worthy entertainment investment.
  • I remember with relish a Saturday afternoon at the 'flicks' - quite often the projection of a film would be delayed and the expression ' put a penny in it' would echo throughout the cinema - usually named as The Roxy.

    Victor Jory was a hero of youthful expression of those years of yore. I recently was able to obtain a full copy of Dick Tracy and the spider ring and the lame one. Tracy was portrayed by Ralph Byrd. In an episode of the serial, the not fully seen 'baddie'strokes a black cat - change that to a white cat and you are years ahead with James Bond.
  • Watching episodes of "The Green Archer" took me back some 70 years to the Yorktown Theater which had perhaps the most massive screen of Manhattan's neighborhood houses, where you were engulfed in the action and every close-up literally loomed over you. A Saturday matinée at the Yorktown invariably included a double feature, newsreel, cartoon, comedy short, trailers and the latest installment of a fifteen chapter serial (mostly from Columbia or Republic.) All for 12 cents and sometimes they threw in a free comic book. "The Green Archer" was among the better serials, largely because a genuinely talented actor, Victor Jory, had the lead. And he had just emerged from a screen career largely devoted to skullduggery to cloud mens' minds as "The Shadow" in another Columbia 15-parter. How does "The Green Archer" hold up? The most fun is still watching the hero emerge unscathed from the seemingly hopeless mess he was in at the end of the previous chapter, trapped in a warehouse explosion, driving his roadster off a cliff to crash in flames or stretched out under a ceiling of descending spikes. And there was some pretty good scenery chewing going on from grade B actors like James Craven as evil Abel Bellamy, running a ring of dim-witted jewel thieves out of an ancestral castle with more secret passages than a Poe manse. Only drawback to getting "Green Archer" from Netflix was watching several episodes in a clump --rather than week to week as intended -- which tended to make the bald spots in the plotting sorta' obvious.
  • This is a pretty unusual serial. It took me two tries to get into it, but then I was hooked. The plot is no more than perfunctory and seems like it was stitched together out of random clichés as the writers went along, but a few episodes in things take a truly delightful turn into the bizarre. It feels as if the writer, director, and/or cast began to feel bored by the tripe they were enacting and decided to have some fun with it. The supposedly diabolical mastermind suddenly seems like the headmaster at a school for painfully inept crooks, constantly bemused but tolerant of his incompetent charges, and the cliffhangers and action sequences begin to feel like big jokes. My favorite shot: the hero is trapped in one of those rooms that slowly fill with water and the villain, after setting the trap in motion, turns to his cohort with a shrug and a wry grin that seems to say "The old flooded room trick again --- well, what're ya gonna do?" Unfortunately the serial runs out of steam towards the end and falls back on the usual tired hi-jinks, but for a while it's a delight.
  • By accident I stumbled upon a couple of episodes of The Green Archer on a local TV channel. I had not heard of this serial when it came out. I stopped seeing local movies in the fall of 1940 when I was sent to boarding school. I enjoyed seeing this, hokey as it was. It was a surprise to see Victor Jory as a hero! The other bright spot was trying to ID the makes and years of the cars used. I could not quite make out what the roadster with suicide doors was--it looked like a Dodge or De Soto from around 1933-35. Prior to that time I had seen a couple of Jimmy Allen flying films but I can't recall if these were full-length films or serial episodes. In doing some searching I learned that these films were preceded by a Jimmy Allen radio series, but I had not heard of that, either, before now. Other radio serials I was familiar with were Jack Armstrong, The Phantom Pilot, Radio Orphan Annie and General Shafter Parker and his Circus. Ray Mac.