12 June 2019 | Henchman_Number1
Good Help is Hard to Find
Cold War era serial has Marlof (Arthur Space) an agent for an unnamed foreign government attempting to build missile bases in the Great White North in order to launch an attack on the United States. To thwart the bad guys, Mountie Don Roberts (William Henry) is tasked with tracking down the perpetrators and to discover the locations of the planned launch sites. With the fate of the free world hanging by a thread, the Canadian Government decides to go that extra mile and assign undercover operative Kay Conway (Susan Morrow) to assist Roberts. Given the gravity of the situation and the pending annihilation of multiple American cities it might seem like two agents is a bit understaffed but fortunately for the United States Marlof can only afford a couple of henchmen himself, Beck and Reed. (Dale Van Sickel, Mike Ragan)
Not only can Marlof only afford two guys, but Beck and Reed are probably the most inept henchmen ever. If you think this type of plan seems too big for just three guys, so do Beck and Reed as they spend each chapter more or less shrugging their shoulders and complaining to Marloff that the job is just too difficult.
This later-on entry into the Republic Cliffhanger realm is ultimately a pretty weak offering. Not much suspense as we know who the 'Mastermind' is, so no big reveal at the end. There is lots of stock footage ,studio shots against Artic backdrops and the usual continuity gaffs. Given the title of the film and the prevailing Cold War conditions of the time you would think that they might have worked something a little more meaty into the plot, but other than the concept of building a few launch pads there isn't any play up of the "Red Menace" angle and even that seems doubtful because of the aforementioned henchmen, Beck and Reed's failure to successfully accomplish even the simplest villainous tasks.
The Television era cliffhangers are a mixed bag. Economics being the primary driving force. It's clear that Republic didn't invest much in the way of time, money or much effort on this one. Unless you're a big fan of the old chapter-plays and are determined to watch every one ever made you may want just to skip on by.