Thursday, June 27, 2019

How Green Is The Archer?

I've been hankering to see The Green Archer forever and a day, but for whatever reason I never picked up a copy and never sat down to enjoy this Columbia chapter play starring Victor Jory as the hero seeking to get inside a displaced castle in which is held captive a lovely woman and where a gang of thieves hide and plot their schemes. It's a castle full of the usual, hidden doorways galore, mysterious steps, dungeons in offbeat places, and one of the wackiest garages you'll ever see.

It's generally assumed The Green Archer inspired the creation of DC's longtime bowman Green Arrow. The timing of this film's release over many months and Green Arrow's debut in the pages of More Fun Comics is certainly coincidental if nothing else. But I think this serial has progeny in the TV realm as well, specifically The Green Hornet show. There's a giant hedge that opens up automatically when the villains drive off their lot and they rise up into position to do that by an dandy elevator, and all these gimmicks stay hidden pretty much through the entire movie. It's not quite as cool as the kissing pair billboard or the turntable garage for Black Beauty, but it sure put me in mind of them.

The story is an ambler. The hero drops into the castle and out with varying motives, sometimes it seems forgetting all about the damsel in distress. And the cops appear unusually feckless, though that is kind of explained later as well. One thing which really pops out is the gang employed by the top villain, in that they are an unusually specific and unusually funny gaggle of baddies. Attention is given to them to a surprising degree for a serial, but that's good since it adds some zest to a show which gets rather repetitive quickly.

I haven't mentioned the Green Archer himself yet. Well, he's a ghost supposedly and represented in the movie in three ways. There's a painting and a fake Archer who works for the villain. And then there's a mysterious other Green Archer who  helps the hero and foils the villains and seems to have an unusual familiarity with castle's hidden avenues. Arrows zing all over and some deliver messages, a few deliver death, but always they mark a turn of plot.

This one can get a little rusty, but try to have fun with the bad guys, because they singularly good.

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