Detective Lt.Bill Bannister has the assignment to run down an unknown gang of terrorists spreading a net of crime over the city. Aiding him is Detective Tim Nolan, news photographer Vicki ...
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Homesteaders are moving into the valley settled many years ago by rancher Craig Dolan. He wants to keep them out by legal means but his nephew Bart brings in outlaws to drive them out. The ... See full summary »
A murderous gang of counterfeiters has kidnapped the government's best engraver and is forcing him to print virtually undetectable phony money. The Secret Service sends its toughest agent, Jack Holt, and a female partner after the gang.
Detective Lt.Bill Bannister has the assignment to run down an unknown gang of terrorists spreading a net of crime over the city. Aiding him is Detective Tim Nolan, news photographer Vicki Logan and reporter Happy Haskins. Bill finds that the gang's leader is a mysterious Professor Mortis and the gang is made up of known criminals officially listed in the police records as dead. Each has become of member of Mortis' "League of Murdered Men" after seemingly committing suicide by hanging while on death row. Bill eventually, after surviving a plane crash, being dynamited, dropped down a well and other nuisances, tracks the gang to two hideouts; a subterranean cell beneath the city's subways and a suburban mystery house.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
CHAPTER TITLES: 1. The League of Murdered Men, 2. The Death Plunge, 3. Murder Blockade, 4. Hangman's Noose, 5. Man Under Cover, 6. Under Crumbling Walls, 7. The Water Trap, 8. Murder By Proxy, 9. Gang Bait, 10., Mob Vengeance, 11. Wanted At Headquarters, 12. The Long Chance, 13. Law and Order. See more »
Chapter 10: Bill and Tim are pursuing Haskins who has boarded a freight train, as Tim pulls up along side, the police car turns into a black coupe which strongly resembles 'Green Hornet's' "Black Beauty.' See more »
[first lines in each chapter]
Announcer in title sequence:
Universal presents "Gang Busters". Calling the police, calling the G-men, calling all America to war on the underworld. Gang Busters, with cooperation of law enforcement officers of the United States, presents a picture of the endless war of the police on the underworld, illustrating the clever operation of the law enforcement officers in the work of our citizens - the All-American crusade against crime!
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When I give this a 10, I mean 10 for a serial. I don't imagine that it's CITIZEN KANE, but it is easily one of the best serials, and the only one with significant horror elements. Universal's product is usually better-scripted and less formulaic than Republic's, and this is the best-scripted of them all, with the possible exception of the second version of SECRET AGENT X-9.
One element that lifts GANGBUSTERS above average is the presence of a henchman who complains about being sent on dangerous assignments. I've always wondered what kind of fool would take up something as dangerous and unrewarding as hench-work, and here at last a scriptwriter addresses the problem. There are other dashes of humor as well, but the story itself stands out for its morbidity, unusual in a film intended for children. It's easy to imagine the mothers of 1942 having to cope with the vivid nightmares of young viewers.
Ralph Morgan, the Wizard of Oz's real-life brother, is remarkably intense as the wicked Professor Mortis, who assembles his gang from executed criminals -- you heard me -- and conducts his nefarious business from a hideout under the subway (Who built it? Didn't anybody notice?). His goal isn't to rule the world or to do anything at all lucrative, just to have revenge on those who treated him unjustly. In other words, this time the Count of Monte Cristo is a bad guy.
The cliffhangers are exciting, and are resolved without TOO much cheating. The hero is bland, as serial heroes often are, but in this story something happens to the hero that is most unexpected. In fact the plot takes several quite remarkable turns, and the climax is unique. Great fun!
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