The Shadow Strikes - 1937
The Shadow, the famed radio and pulp-novel hero with the mysterious power to "cloud men's minds" so that they cannot see him, was first brought to the screen by low-budget Grand National Pictures in 1937. Former matinee idol Rod LaRocque stars as the Shadow's man-about-town alter-ego Lamont Cranston, a lawyer-criminologist who occasionally adopts his celebrated disguise to prey on the consciences of the guilty. The only person who knows the true identity of the Shadow is Cranston's faithful manservant Henry (Margot Lane, the Shadow's "constant friend and companion" who shared his secret in the radio version, does not appear in the picture). On this occasion, Cranston tries to solve the murder of a wealthy "gentleman" who had enemies galore, with suspects ranging from the victim's heirs to a gang of racketeers. Since the film's budget precluded the special effects needed to cloud men's minds, Cranston must rely on his wits -- and a none-too-concealing cloak and mask -- to outmaneuver the villains.