Doctor Paul Gironda (Robert Frazer) claims to have discovered a formula to make synthetic gold. His backers are a research corporation called “The International Research Foundation”. Before he can show the Board of Directors his procedure Gironda disappears. So does his formula. A newspaper reporter named Walter Jameson (Rex Lease) is engaged to Gironda's daughter Verna (Marion Shilling). He and Federal Agent Gordon Gaunt (William Farnum) call in veteran sleuth Craig Kennedy (Jack Mulhall) to investigate the disappearance.
An arch villain named “The Clutching Hand” claims responsibility for Gironda’s disappearance. He claims that pages of the doctor’s notebook containing the formula are missing. He demands that the doctor’s wife and daughter hand over the pages.
Adding to the tension is Joe Mitchell (Robert Walker). Mitchell is Verna's real father and Mrs. Gironda's first husband. He had been released from prison after serving time for blackmail. His being in the way of the Hand’s plans could cost Mitchell his life. The Hand needs to ensure that Verna remains ignorant to her true identity.
Throw in a phony psychic named Hamik (Gordon Griffith) and some suspicious board of director members and you have a plethora of suspects and subplots that have nothing to do with the serial. Fortunately Kennedy and Jameson steadfastly move forward on their search for the truth.
“The Amazing Exploits of the Clutching Hand” is a 15 chapter serial that was released in 1936 and was directed by Albert Herman. The serial is loosely based on the novel by Arthur Reeves.
I had trouble keeping focused on what was going on. The production values for this serial were about as low as I’ve ever seen. Normally that’s not a problem if there is something else going on that’s interesting, but there isn’t. The action wasn’t. It consisted mostly of fist fights. If you wanna call them fist fights. My cat can fight better than that. The acting was bland. The story had too many subplots and red herrings. Not to mention the big white MacGuffin in the room.
I even got a little annoyed when the shadow hand kept pretending to clutch stuff. Then there was the various plans the Clutching Hand had up his sleeve. It seemed as if he was prepared for everything even though nothing went in his favor. If the plan didn’t work. Go to plan AA or plan D or plan AB. When you get to plan 9 from Outer Space we’ll talk. And what is a plan C without a number 4 to carry it out. So now henchmen have assigned numbers. Number 3 tells number 8 to go see the big guy and number 6 has to relieve number 8 so he can. But don’t mess up like number 4 did cause you don’t want to end up like number 4. It’s a whole lot of number 2.
There were a few interesting parts but not enough to keep me interested for fifteen chapters.
Chapters: 1) Who Is the Clutching Hand? - 2) Shadows - 3) House of Mystery - 4) The Phantom Car - 5) The Double Trap - 6) Steps of Doom - 7) The Invisible Enemy - 8) A Cry in the Night - 9) Evil Eyes - 10) A Desperate Chance - 11) The Ship of Peril - 12) Hidden Danger - 13) The Mystic Menace - 14) The Silent Specter - 15) The Lone Hand.