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Crash Corrigan, a recent graduate of Annapolis, and Diana, a go-getting reporter, join Professor Norton for a search for the source of a string of earthquakes, Atlantis. They ride Prof. Norton's rocket submarine searching the sea and little Billy Norton, the professor's son stows away, of course. When they find Atlantis they are caught in a war between peaceful Atlanteans, note their white capes, and war-monging Atlanteans, note their black capes. After many harrowing moments for Crash, Diana, Prof. Norton and Billy, they barely get away with their lives when they escape a tower of Atlantis raised to the surface for the sole purpose of dominating or destroying the Earth (Which one depends on the compliance of the upper world dwellers.)Written by
Carl Rossi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Undersea Kingdom was budgeted at $81,924 although the final negative cost was $99,222 (a $17,298, or 21.1%, overspend). It has the lowest budget of any Republic serial but it was only the third cheapest in actual production cost. The only cheaper serials were the subsequent The Vigilantes Are Coming ($87,655) and, in 1938, The Fighting Devil Dogs ($92,569). By comparison, the larger Universal Pictures spent $350,000 in producing the first Flash Gordon serial. See more »
When Billy is abducted, his hat is blown off, but it is back on his head in the very next shot. See more »
[flexing muscles during a Naval Academy physical]
How 'bout it, Doc. Do you think I'll live?
Navy Doctor [Ch. 1]:
You look kind of weak and puny, but I think you'll pull through.
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This serial was cranked out even quicker than usual for Republic, in direct response to Universal's instant classic, Flash Gordon, and is, overall, rather sub-par for a Republic production.
Our hero, Crash Corrigan, is an attempt at creating a poor man's Buster Crabbe, and while he is likable, adequate and has the right build and physical abilities to be a serial hero, he does not exude sufficient charisma, charm, virtue or cleverness so as to have us in our seats cheering him on.
The main villain, Unga Khan, is an unsuccessful attempt to create an ersatz Ming the Merciless, looking more brain-damaged than sinister.
And while Crash is adequate, most of the rest of the cast are either bland or sub-par, the exception being guy who played Unga Khan's main henchmen, who was pretty good. There is a just awful kid, Billy, the son of a geriatric scientist, who you keep hoping will get killed off, but no, he survives.
And there is a nice-looking female lead who gets almost nothing to do the entire serial, and there are no romantic sparks between her and our hero, until the final chapter.
Speaking of romantic sparks or the lack thereof, it is interesting to note that in the Kingdom of Atlantis, wherein our adventure occurs, there appear to be exactly zero women, until our aforementioned heroine arrives. I mean, in a literal sense, that although this serial has many male actors and extras, there is only 1 female throughout the whole 12 chapters. How this city's population has perpetuated itself these many thousands of years is a mystery not discussed, nor is the means by which the many, many male inhabitants of Atlantis relieved their sexual urges.
This aspect of Atlantean life, plus the many scenes of our hero stripped down to his trunks wrestling other men stripped down to their trunks, not to mention the fact that Corrigan's Atlantean costume greatly resembles that of a Las Vegas showgirl, gives rise to much speculation.
This serial has neither the verisimilitude of the classic Republic serials, nor the delirious phantasmagoria of Flash Gordon. Thus, it is amusing to see a couple chapters, but, and I say this as a fan of the classic serials, I found it tiresome to watch in its entirety.
I should, however, give due praise to the fine miniature work by the Lydecker Brothers, and note that this serial marks the premier of the great Republic "water heater" robots, who would continue to appear in serials for the next 20 years. Thus, fans of Republic should see at least a chapter or two, and fans of serials, B-films, and kitch can also enjoy a couple chapters. But the whole things will probably be more than you need.
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