Following the Shadow Serial in 1940 the Shadow disappeared from the
silver screen for six years despite his popularity on Radio, in the
pulps and in Comic Books.
The fact that Grand National went bankrupt making Shodow feature
films may have dissuaded other movie producers from risking such a
venture (never mind the fact that Grand National had so mismanaged
what could have been a promising series of Shadow Movies.)
Then in 1946 Monogram Pictures made a series of three Shadow Movies.
Monogram was a producer of "B" movies that Movie Houses could couple
with feature films to create inexpensive double features. Their
hottest most successful series were the Charlie Chan mysteries still
re-run on television today.
In the movie business the Shadow was now seen only as material for B
Monogram cast Kane Richmond in the part of Cranston/The Shadow. This
was a better casting than Grand National's Rod La Rocque but nowhere
near as good as Victor Jory. Richmond was a man with an impressive
stature and a square jaw... an excellent Superman, but only an OK
choice for Cranston.
In this adaptation Margo becomes Cranston's slightly annoying jealous
girlfriend who wants him to give up being the Shadow and marry her.
He is willing to marry her but not if it means giving up the Shadow.
Burbank becomes an old Private Investigator who occasionally phone's
Cranston with hot tips.
The Shadow in this version trades in his cloak for a closed overcoat
(an open flapping overcoat would have been better) and his scarf for
a mask (something like Bat Man's without the "ears").
The first movie was titled "Return of the Shadow".
The story is imaginative and presents elements of mystery for the
Shadow to solve through clues and by snooping around as the Shadow.
The story involves smuggled "Jewels" that turn out not to be real
Jewels but something else in disguise, and a series of murders
committed imaginatively to look like suicided by pulling people off
balconies and stairs with a bullwhip, to their deaths (thus making
it look as if they jumped).
All in all this was not a bad Shadow movie for a B movie. Certainly
there were things that could have been done much better, but the
story was enjoyable and preserved the Shadow's mystery solving
With some minor adjustments this might have been a GREAT Shadow
The movie gets its title from the fact that in an early scene
Cranston agrees with Margo that he will give up being the Shadow if
a good case does not show up in the next three weeks (and a good
case turns up that same night). This was a bit of a stretch to earn
the title which was aimed primarily at advertising the Shadow's
return to film after a six year absence.