Kirk Alyn, James Dale, Rosemary LaPlanche
Fred C. Brannon
Cheezy Flicks (DVD)
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A 1949 Republic serial in 12 chapters, Federal Agents Versus Underworld, Inc.
is yet another example of those fine folks at Cheezy Flicks showing up and giving new life to an under-appreciated old school television serial. While one never quite knows what to expect when Cheezy Flicks puts its name on a film, I'm consistently surprised by how often I find myself enjoying their release of old serials with a strong emphasis on Republic.
With this 12 chapter serial, which includes a grand total of 167 minutes in running time, Cheezy Flicks again brings to the forefront a surprisingly entertaining but admittedly cheesy production. The film centers around a female leader, Nila (Carol Forman), of an international crime ring who steals a valuable artifact that can give her the power to control men's minds. Federal agents are dispatched to get it back and to stop her evil plans. The artifact, the Golden Hands of Kurigal, will not only make Nila able to control men's minds but will likely make her the ruler of the land of Abistahn, her homeland.
What would you expect?
In the film, Nila partners with an American gangster (Roy Barcroft) and together they kidnap a professor (James Clayton) while harassing his associate (Bruce Edwards) and eventually kidnapping their secretary (former Miss America Rosemary LaPlanche).
With well paced action and a stronger than usual cast, especially for a late Republic serial, Federal Agents Versus Underworld, Inc.
is much more entertaining than one might actually expect. The script from Royal K. Cole and Basil Dickey is inventive and twisty in the best of ways, and while I wouldn't necessarily call the film a "mystery" it certainly is an effective and entertaining action serial.
The film has been given new life in its entirety by Cheezy Flicks, and fans of the older serials will likely want to add this flick to the collection. One of the great things about Cheezy Flicks is, quite honestly, their complete affordability for even their best films. As is pretty much the rule for Cheezy Flicks, there are no real extras here ... simply a mostly forgotten black-and-white serial digitally remastered and brought back for a contemporary audience.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic