The Whispering Shadow is a criminal master mind who directs his minions via television to do his bidding. Recently several trucks from “The Empire Transport and Storage Company” have been wrecked by this evil presence. At the time each of the trucks had on board a wax statue destined for the “House of Mystery Wax Museum”.

The driver for the latest truck that has one of the wax figures on it refuses to drive. Jack Foster (Malcolm McGregor) is the supervisor of the drivers in the trucking department for the company. When the driver refuses to drive Jack’s younger brother volunteers. Jack’s not crazy about the idea but he lets his brother go. Still he follows the truck on a motorcycle keeping tabs on it. When the truck is attacked Jack’s brother gets killed. Jack swears to find out the identity The Whispering shadow is and avenge his brother’s death.

One of the henchmen is caught and questioned. Before he can reveal anything he is killed remotely by the Whispering Shadow’s radio death ray. Detective Robert Raymond (Robert Warwick) is a famous criminologist who is visiting the chief of police. He is asked to assist on the case.

Raymond starts questioning the big shots at the company and each one is pointing fingers at the others. Suspicions fall on Professor Alexis Steinbeck (Roy D’Arcy) an international spy that is the radio engineer of Empire Transport and Storage Co., Company Vice President D.W. Jerome (Lafe McKee) and Company President J. D. Bradley (Henry B. Walthall).

Also in the mix is the owner of the wax museum Professor Adam Anton Strang (Bela Lugosi). The Professor’s daughter Vera (Viva Tattersall) becomes a distraction for Jack who is also involved in investigating The Whispering Shadow.

Eventually Jack and Detective Raymond learn that the reason for the problems at the storage company is due to a thief named Jasper Slade (Bob Kortman) who stole the crown jewels of the late Czar and hid them in the storage warehouse before he was captured. He has since broken out of jail and is also running around. Now that everyone knows about the jewels there is a race to either find them or steal them from whoever happens to have them at the time. All the while tenacious Jack just wants to get his hands on the one who killed his brother.

“The Whispering Shadow” was released in 1933 and was directed by Colbert Clark and Albert Herman. It is an American pre-code science fiction, crime serial produced by Mascot Pictures. It was the 18th serial produced by Mascot and the 12th sound serial they did. Reportedly the entire serial was filmed in 18 days. Unfortunately the film is old and scratchy but it’s still watchable. This was the first of five serials that Bela Lugosi did.

Instead of a recap chapter there are flashbacks throughout the serial which has a tendency to bog things down a little. As far as stealth is concerned, none of these people are very good at it. Everybody suspects everyone else and everybody is following everyone else and everyone knows they’re being followed. It is fast paced to the point of almost being farcical. The jewels are basically a MacGuffin being passed around from suspect to suspect. There are quite a few fistfights but few punches land among the flailing arms and more damage is done from rolling around on the floor. Not that any of that is bad. Much of it is typical of the serial style. The identity of the Whispering Shadow is neatly held until the very last chapter. In the meantime there are red herrings everywhere and suspects galore. Instead of the detective being the hero the blue collar Jack out to avenge his brother’s death is more heroic. The detective is actually barely around. His main job seems to be to recap and explain any plot points that are needed. Acting is spotty. The variations in the plot plentiful. The serial was actually enjoyable and at lot more comic than horrific.

Mascot Pictures Corporation was an American film company of the 1920s and 1930s best known for producing and distributing film serials and B-westerns. Mascot was formed in 1927 by film producer Nat Levine. In 1936 it merged with several other companies to form Republic Pictures.

Chapter Titles: 1. The Master Magician 2. The Collapsing Room 3. The All-Seeing Eye 4. The Shadow Strikes 5. Wanted For Murder 6. The Man Who Was Czar 7. The Double Doom 8. The Red Circle 9. The Fatal Secret 10.The Death Warrant 11.The Trap 12.King of the World