The Shadow Guest Review by Lucas Garrett

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There’s an 80/20 love/hate relationship I have with this film

Overall, I love it even though I dislike Alec Baldwin

Let’s get the negative 20% out of the way.

1: Wasn’t a fan of Baldwin’s deadpan humor in the film (some of which I bet he adlibbed)

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THE SHADOW, Alec Baldwin, 1994, (c)Universal Pictures

2: Why did we have to see Baldwin’s face in the final battle between The Shadow and Shiwan Khan? At that point it became an Alec Baldwin movie instead of a Shadow movie. That bugs me.

Here goes the 80% positive of the film:

1: I loved the very dark backstory of this incarnation of The Shadow. I say this incarnation because we are watching the story about a Shadow. Not The Shadow of the pulps. This is Lamont Cranston, Warlord of China, possible drug and gun runner. Who is a king in his own domain until a certain teacher shows him the error of his ways. That entire sequence was outstanding to watch, in my opinion.

2: The opening battle between The Shadow, Duke and his goons on the bridge as The Shadow rescues an important scientist. The scene does a great job of showing how cunning and ruthless The Shadow can be and that entire sequence was true to the nature of The Shadow from the pulps.

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3: 1930s New York is absolutely gorgeous, providing the necessary atmosphere of how weird and wonderous it would be to live in a city where such a gun-toting vigilante operates.

4: The power upgrade given to Margo Lane was a happy surprise and made her more interesting instead of a damsel-in-distress or tagalong for The Shadow.

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5: John Lone as Shiwan Khan is to The Shadow what Ra’s al Ghul is to Batman. A deadly equal and opposite who shows The Shadow what he might have become if he had decided to evolve towards his personal vices instead of using his abilities to help those unable to protect themselves.

6: The Shadow’s agent network of spies, lookouts and drivers who help The Shadow rid New York of organized crime and other diabolical plots that threaten it. And it’s all done as life debts for The Shadow saving their lives at some point in their past. I especially loved the mail system to Burbank.

7: The writing is pretty solid with only a few threads left here or there. I think those threads would have been explored more in a sequel (or sequels) if the film hadn’t tanked at the box office.

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8: The music. In particular the always gorgeous Taylor Dane singing “Original Sin.” I loved it when I first heard it as a 15-year-old and as a 38 looking at 39 year old, I still love it. And her. The woman can sing!

 

 

4 thoughts on “The Shadow Guest Review by Lucas Garrett

  1. Count me in for the “love/hate” relationship camp. My biggest problem with the film has always been that they tried to condense EVERY version of The Shadow into one, instead of doing just the pulp Shadow or just the radio Shadow, etc. In the end we have a hybrid version of the pulp/comic/radio versions, and it’s a little messy in its execution.

    However, the movie’s pros are terrific: great atmosphere, great effects (for its time), and some great ideas. That pneumatic tube mail system scene KILLS me every time I see it, it’s so cool. And there’s some pretty iconic shots of The Shadow in full costume, images ripped straight from readers’ imaginations. It’s really not a BAD movie, just… to me, it’s a stew that should’ve been a straight meal.

  2. This is one of those movies I too have a love/hate relationship with. I dislike Baldwin immensely, but the movie was so compelling, that I watch it whenever it airs on TV and cable. This is a movie that could really use a reboot , on the quiet side, but with all the same attention to detail.

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