Two ’50s sci-fi serials on home video
Republic Pictures made the slickest serials of any Hollywood studio, though after World War II its efforts began to seem formulaic even by the narrow dramatic conventions of the cliff-hanger genre. So the first-time-on-video release of these two late Republic productions may prove disappointing for serial buffs; non-enthusiasts, however, may well enjoy them as agreeable nonsense.
In Flying Disc Man, a German-accented Martian colludes with a Nazi industrialist in a plot to (what else?) take over the world. In Radar Patrol, a federal agent, portrayed by Kirk Alyn (the screen’s first Superman), combats a saboteur (John Merton) sporting the most sinister mustache-and-eyeglasses look in screen history. In both, there’s lots of neat stunt-double work, realistic car crashes, and tin-eared dialogue rendered with becoming earnestness. In short, don’t expect Citizen Kane — or, for that matter, Republic’s Adventures of Captain Marvel — and you’ll have some fun with these pieces of fluff from another time.
Flying Disc Man: B-; Radar Patrol: B-