In a lost valley of Siam (which looks strangely like Southern California), an archaeologicalteam breaks open the ancient tomb of the Scorpion. Young Billy Batson doesn’t like thedesecration and turns away. Because he does not join in, the ancient wizard Shazam appearsbefore him and blesses him with incredible powers. Now, whenever Billy says “Shazam!” he isbecomes the Superman-clone Captain Marvel. Meanwhile, a hooded villain (the Scorpion, ofcourse), has designs on …he treasure found in the tomb: a scorpion sculpture whose special lensesallow one to use light to transmute base elements into gold.
The serials of the 30s and 40s are marvellous fun, and this 1941 effort is a fine example ofthe joys they have to offer. Each episode is about 20 minutes long, and ends on a cliffhanger(often quite literally so). The action is non-stop, and the movie rattles along with an engagingnaivete.
The sound is mono, and the age of the film is apparent. There is a lot of hiss in thebackground, not to mention static, and odd blips. That said, the sound is still clear (I’veencountered some serials where the sound is so muzzy you can barely make out what is beingsaid).
Print age is apparent here too, most noticeably in some shots where the contrast has becomeso extreme that the whites bleach out all the detail. There is some grain too, though it could be alot worse. There are some speckles and other signs of damage, but this is generally minimal, allthings considered.
The only extra is an unrestored theatrical trailer. The menu is basic.
For maximum enjoyment, watch the film as it was intended, giving yourself some timebetween each of the 12 episodes. Trying to watch the whole 216 minutes at one go wouldneedlessly turn the experience into a chore.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer