MALA: Secret Agent of the South Seas Released in amazing color-enhanced 3-tone MALAVISION with amazingly realistic fire, torchlight and underwater scenes!!! Our Hero: Ray Mala His Pals: William Newell as McLaurie, Rex, King of the Wild Horses, Buck the St. Bernard Leading Lady: Mamo Clark as Princess Melani Villain: John Piccori as Porotu Mystery Villain: "H. K."
Directed by: Mack V. Wright, Ray Taylor
The Story: International spies, superstitious natives, volcanic eruptions and dirigible disasters turn a tropical paradise into a hotbed of intrigue and sabotage in this thrilling adventure. Ray Mala is a special investigator sent by Pacific Dirigible Airlines to learn who has destroyed their base on a Polynesian island. Aided by his trusty sidekicks McLaurie (William Newell), Rex, King of the Wild Horses, and Buck, a St. Bernard (don't ask how they got there), Mala is soon up to his loincloth in danger. Whether he's dodging poison darts, escaping a molten lava flow or saving a beautiful native queen from a power-hungry witch doctor, the suspense never stops as mala closes in on "H. K.," the maniacal mastermind behind the evil scheme to disrupt world communications.
In 1936 Republic Pictures filmed a serial entitled ROBINSON CRUSOE OF CLIPPER ISLAND, featuring Ray Mala, star of the 1933 documentary ESKIMO, and Mamo Clark, who played Clark Gable's native girlfriend in MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY. When the serial ran over budget, which was not surprising considering its large cast, exotic locations, and profuse special effects sequences including shipboard fires, lava pits, erupting volcanoes, and model ships, planes, and dirigibles bursting into flames, Republic decided to try to gain a little extra profit by stretching the serial out from 12 chapters to 14, thus arranging for a little extra box office income.
The post-production extensions to the serial included repeated sequences, a recap chapter and cheater endings, none of which improved the serial's entertainment value.
Dr. Grood now presents this serial with its "fat" -- the recaps, repeated footage, and cheater endings, all of which are glaringly out of place especially in a DVD presentation -- trimmed out, and for the first time in color!
The "Malavision" three-tone color process applied to this serial was first used in the Squadron's acclaimed ADVENTURES OF TARZAN DVD and does not involve selection of areas to receive painted-on color as does colorization, but works by the assignment of color tones to highlight, midtone and shadow values already in the image to suggest the effect of natural and reflected light. This process works especially well in torchlight, firelight or outdoor sky and water sequences, of which there are many in this serial.
With color enhancement and smoother continuity, the Squadron's MALA, SECRET AGENT OF THE SOUTH SEAS raises the original serial from two stars to at least three and allows the viewer to enjoy the story without the distractions the studio added for financial reasons which no longer are relevant. The elimination of cheater endings, by releasing the serial in 7 double-length chapters instead of 12 or 13, also increases the serial's credibility and gives some well-deserved credit back to its hero,
7 Double-length (half-hour) chapters Color toned & cheater cliffhanger-reduced
A star was created for Jay (Tonto) Silverheels but as some may be surprised to learn he was Canadian. This initiative is being supervised by Lael Morgan, the author of the highly recommended biograpy of Mala entitled ESKIMO STAR.