THE FIGHTING MARINES MASCOT 1935 12 Chapters Directed by B. Reeves Eason, Joseph Kane Music by Arthur Kay (Opening music is John Philip Sousa's "Semper Fidelis")
Grant Withers as Cpl. Lawrence Adrian Morris as Sgt. McGowan Ann Rutherford as Frances Schiller, Robert Warwick as Col. Bennett George J. Lewis as Sgt. William Schiller Supporting Cast: Jason Robards as Kota, Frank Reicher as Wheeler (M 70), Warner Richmond as Metcalf (M 30), Robert Frazer as H. R. Douglas, Frank Glendon as M. J. Buchanan, Richard Alexander as Ivan , Donald Reed as Pedro, Tom London as Miller, Stanley Blystone as Gibson, Milburn Stone as Red, Pat O'Malley as Captain Grayson
The United States Marines go after super-saboteur The Tiger Shark.
If a certain 1938 serial is one of your favorites, take a look at the earlier The Fighting Marines. Republic liked the Mascot film so much it reworked it, with more elaborate special effects, as The Fighting Devil Dogs. The similarities between the two chapter plays are easy to spot, and not that much to The Fighting Marines' disadvantage. Both films pit two marines against a power-mad masked villain in black outfit who employs all sorts of futuristic technology, aircraft included, for terror or destruction. Infantry skirmishes, trips to mystery islands, wild chases, and dogged intelligence work characterize the two cliffhangers. However, The Fighting Marines' Tiger Shark--in an aviator-cap-and-goggles disguise resembling that of The Mystery Squadron's Black Ace--lacks the panache of the Lightning. And, though hailed in advertising as the "Scientific but Fiendish Ruler of the Mysterious Halfway Island," he is an off-stage character too long. A rousing rendition of "Semper Fidelis" introduces each spirited chapter of this final serial released under the Mascot banner. Although the heroes are noncoms, in contrast to the Devil Dogs' lieutenants, husky performers Grant Withers and Adrian Morris (Chester's brother) bring zest to their roles of Corporal Lawrence and Sergeant McGowan. They stand ready for every roughhouse brawl. Anchoring matters at the home base is the steadfast Colonel Bennett of Robert Warwick. Brunette Ann Rutherford, Andy Hardy's steady girl, makes the most of a small part until her character drops from sight. Jason Robards, Sr., is the actor seen as Kota, the mess boy. Playing Captain Holmes in the raid on Halfway Island is Lt. Franklyn (Pete) Adreon, future serial writer, producer, and director, whose entre into the movie business had been as a military advisor. This was a transition film. While it was called "A Mascot Serial," it was completed after Nat Levine's small studio had been incorporated into Republic Pictures and was released through Republic exchanges. Photography, direction, and special effects (by Howard Lydecker) prefigure the Republic style, though action scenes do not have that studio's trademark musical support. On the other hand, engineer Terry Kellum's sound track is free of the random noise that often beset early 1930s serials. Moreover, where there is no music, there is well-employed sound effect.
-- Review text by R. William Stedman
Newly remastered on a Rank Cintel from an original print. Presented in black and white, with restored sound on 2 DVDs with illustrated menus, chapter selection buttons, and scene markers within chapters. 2-DVD Set includes: The Fighting Marines theatrical trailer Newsreel from 1938 featuring serial hero Sammy Baugh playing football, and a "real-life" Rocket-man! Puddle Pranks, a Flip the Frog cartoon by Ub Iwerks