Shadow of Terror


60m 1945

Film Details

Also Known As
Checkmate
Release Date
Nov 5, 1945
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
PRC Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Producers Releasing Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Film Length
6 reels

Synopsis

While onboard a train en route to Washington, D.C., Howard Norton, a chemist who is carrying a secret formula for a new atomoic explosive, is follwed by McKenzie and Walters, henchmen of unscrupulous fellow chemist Victor Maxwell, who is eager to sell the formula rather than have Howard give it to the U.S. government. As the train is passing through desert country, McKenzie and Walters attack Howard, steal his briefcase and toss the unconscious chemist out into the desert. Howard is later found by ranch owner Joan Rutledge and her foreman, Elmer, who take him back to the ranch. Although Howard's flesh wounds prove superficial, the attack has left him with no memory. Joan decides to call Howard "Jim," and as she nurses him back to health and tries to cure him of his amnesia, she and Howard fall in love. Maxwell, meanwhile, has discovered that the stolen formula is worthless because it lacks an ingredient known only to Howard. One day, a stranger appears at the ranch and pretends that he is searching for his lost friend, a chemist from the East. After the man pulls a gun upon seeing Howard, Elmer shoots the weapon from his hand and the intruder speeds off. When Elmer, Joan and Howard report the incident to Sheriff Dixon, the lawman offers to aid Howard in the quest to determine his true identity. One night soon after, McKenzie and Walters appear at the ranch posing as FBI agents looking for missing chemist Howard Norton. After identifying Jim as Howard, they ask him to accompany them to town. During their conversation, however, they inadvertently give themselves away as imposters. Though unaware of Walters' and McKenzie's true objectives, Howard and Joan then flee to the hills, while Elmer goes for the sheriff. Howard and Joan are soon captured by McKenzie and Walters and taken to Maxwell's secret desert home. There, Maxwell refuses to believe that Jim has amnesia and orders McKenzie to beat the formula out of him. When McKenzie fails to extract the information from Howard, the sadistic Maxwell takes over. Maxwell's blows cause Jim's memory to be restored, but he still refuses to divulge the formula. Exasperated, Maxwell forces the couple into the burning desert and, after they begin to suffer from exhaustion and thirst, Maxwell and his henchmen hunt them down and tempt them with food and drink in order force Howard to disclose the formula. Meanwhile, Elmer and the sheriff commandeer a plane and scour the desert for Howard and Joan. After sighting the plane, Howard manages to etch an S.O.S. sign in the sand, which is seen by the sheriff. When the plane distracts Maxwell and his henchmen, Howard grabs a gun from McKenzie and shoots Maxwell. The sheriff then lands the plane and arrests the gang. Howard's invention is proclaimed a success months later when the atomic bomb is dropped on Japan.

Film Details

Also Known As
Checkmate
Release Date
Nov 5, 1945
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
PRC Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Producers Releasing Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Film Length
6 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Checkmate. According to the Motion Picture Herald review, the picture's "atomic bomb angle was inserted into a previously finished product." The film concludes with newsreel footage of the atomic bomb test in New Mexico, according to reviews. Hollywood Reporter production charts add John Harmon to the cast, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Shadow of Terror marked Jack D. Grant's producing debut.