Cast & Crew
In Caribou, Canada, a scientist, Tom Merritt, Sr., discovers a special mineral substance in a mine he owns and develops it into a cure for infantile paralysis. Enemy agents working for Germany soon learn that the mineral, known as Compound X, has powerful magnetic properties which could be used to destroy the British Fleet, thereby ending the blockade. Spy John Kettler arranges for one of his operatives, Crandall, to buy into the Merritt family mine, thereby ensuring a steady secret supply of the mineral to the Germans. Merritt overhears Crandall communicating with Kettler over the short-wave radio, however, and Crandall shoots and kills him. In order to protect Crandall's identity, Wade Garson, a fellow enemy agent, knocks Crandall out and then escapes. When Sergeant Dave King of the Canadian Mounted Police arrives on the scene, Merritt's daughter Linda tells him that she caught a brief glimpse of the man who escaped after the shooting. King shows Linda some photographs of spies and she quickly picks out Garson, whom she recognizes by a prominent scar on his face. King sets off for the Valley of the Hunted Men in pursuit of Garson, but Crandall, whose true identity remains undetected, manages to warn the fugitive. After King succeeds in capturing another spy, Blake, he uses him as a decoy, along with a briefcase that supposedly contains Compound X. King and Blake are mistakenly attacked by gunmen who turn out to be working with the murder victim's son, Corp. Tom Merritt, Jr., and Merritt then joins forces with King. In order to uncover the identity of the murderer, Merritt orders Blake to take the Compound X to his boss. Crandall is warned of Blake's impending approach to the mine by a directional signal hidden in the briefcase, and he redirects Blake to a nearby and desolate canyon. As King and Merritt head for the canyon, King's father, the commander of the local Mountie station, is alerted by the directional signal and rides over to the mine, where he discovers Crandall at the short-wave radio in conversation with Kettler. After arresting Crandall for the murder of Merritt, Inspector King rides into a furious gun battle with the enemy and loses his life in order to save his son, who is then appointed the new commander. Next, King and Tom investigate a local sanitarium where an enormous amount of Compound X is being prescribed, and King exposes the director, Dr. Sheldon, as a fraud. During the course of their raid, King and Tom find definitive evidence that Kettler and his men are saboteurs, but soon after, Kettler manages to free Crandall from jail and kidnap Tom. When Tom realizes that he has been captured by none other than the leader of the spy ring, he manages to surreptitiously flip on the short-wave radio in Kettler's car, enabling King to listen in on their conversation. King follows the car to a German submarine secretly moored in a nearby inlet, but Kettler succeeds in imprisoning both King and Tom in the torpedo room. After Tom sends King to safety through the torpedo tube, he blows up the submarine, killing himself along with the entire gang of spies.
Hiram S. Brown Jr.
Norman S. Hall
Barney A. Sarecky
William P. Thompson
Zane Gray's King of the Royal Mounted
Based on a then-popular comic strip, King Of The Royal Mounted was another of the great Republic Studio serials so popular from the 1930's to the 1950's. This one came near the studio's peak of serial adventure. Directors John English and William Whitney, writers Franklin Adreon, Barney A. Sarecky and Sol Shor had just been south of the border with the excellent Zorro's Fighting Legion (1939). Jumping north of the border for King Of The Royal Mounted, English, Whitney and Shor would then set their action in the United States for one of Republic's most famous serials The Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941).
It was not only the work behind the scenes that make King Of The Royal Mounted so enjoyable. A large part of the success has to be credited to star Allan Lane, the epitome of the square-jawed, two-fisted Mountie. This was Lane's first serial after eleven years in acting, mostly in minor roles in such movies as the Shirley Temple feature Stowaway (1936) and Charlie Chan At The Olympics (1937). King Of The Royal Mounted would recreate Lane as an action hero. From serials he would go on to B-movie western stardom as Allan "Rocky" Lane in Stagecoach To Denver (1946) and The Bandit King Of Texas (1949).
Lane plays Sgt. Dave King of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Tombstone Landing, Ontario working for his dad, the station's Chief Inspector. King thinks he has a quiet life riding the backwoods beat, little realizing that a nearby mine will become the center of attention for a hotbed of spies. These enemy agents are after Compound X, a substance unearthed from the mine and used for treating infantile paralysis, but which can be turned into a magnetic explosive allowing the enemy country to blow up ships and break the British blockade. Although every effort is made to make these spies look typically German, at no point in the serial is this country, with which Canada is at war, ever named. It is a peculiarity caused by Republic, an American studio, being a bit cautious about the United States' then official neutrality with Nazi Germany.
Bit actor with a great name Robert Strange heads up the team of spies, but his henchman Wade Garson, played by the excellent heavy Harry Cording, has to do all the riding, shooting and brush-fire setting and he makes a fine foil for the Mountie. Lita Conway is the supposed love interest but she barely registers and, besides, who watches these serials for the lovey-dovey stuff anyway?
VCI Entertainment's print on this DVD is a sparkling one with practically no flaws. Some nighttime scenes are a bit dark but it seems this is more the problem of cameraman William Nobles' day-for-night shooting than VCI's processing of the print. The sound is also good for such a low-budget film. The musical main theme, written by Cy Feuer, will stick in your head for days. In addition, the DVD includes production stills, ads and posters, cast and crew bios and a selection of trailers for other Republic Studio titles. King Of The Royal Mounted is another great addition to VCI's library of classic serial adventures.
To order King of the Royal Mounted, go to TCM Shopping.
by Brian Cady
Zane Gray's King of the Royal Mounted
Although this film was not viewed, onscreen credits were obtained from a negative. The Yukon Patrol consisted of re-edited footage from Republic's twelve-episode serial King of the Royal Mounted, which was released in September 1940. Zane Grey's comic strip, King of the Royal Mounted, was also the source for a 1936 film of the same name, produced by Sol Lesser and distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2300). The Hollywood Reporter review for The Yukon Patrol noted that, other than a character named "King," Republic's adaptation of Grey's work bore little resemblance to the original source material. A modern source indicates that, in addition to "King," the characters depicted in this film were created by Stephen Slesinger and Romer Grey; however, various contemporary news items suggest that Slesinger and Grey (Zane Grey's son) merely held the rights to the comic strip. The extent of their actual creative participation, if any, has not been determined.
Modern sources add the following cast members: Ken Terrell (Al), Charles Thomas (Bayliss), Bill Wilkus (Bill), Ted Mapes (Blake), Major Sam Harris (Harold Bolton), George Plues (Brakeman), Frank Wayne (Brant), Richard Simmons (Carter), Loren Riebe (Dinwoodie), Wallace Reid, Jr. (Doyle), William Justice (Hallett), William Stahl (Bob Hastings), John Bagni (Higgins), Earl Bunn (Joe), Curley Dresden (Kelly), Bud Geary (Klondike), Dave Marks (Knifefighter), Robert Wayne (Lieutenant), William Kellogg (MacCloud), Tommy Coats (Mike), Dale Van Sickel (Radioman), Fenton "Duke" Taylor (Smelter Henchman), Bob Jameson (Pete), Al Taylor (Red), Douglas Evans (Sergeant), George DeNormand and David Sharpe. Additional crew members indicated in a modern source are as follows: Supervising Editor Murray Seldeen; Special Effects Howard Lydecker, Theodore Lydecker; Sound Charles L. Lootens, Daniel J. Bloomberg; Costumes Robert H. Ramsay, Adele Palmer; Makeup Supervisor Robert Mark; Art Director John Victor Mackay; Construction supv Ralph Oberg; Set Decoration Morris Braun; Casting Bobby Webb and Location Manager John T. Bourke.