The Shadow. I must have had myself mixed up with The Phantom.
Although, I can see how The Phantom could have been derived from The Shadow. I’ll freely state that I wanted some action in this story. I had just finished The Killers when I picked this up. Nobody died in that, by the way.
I open up the link and scroll down. Just a bit. Orson Welles! Yes! I’m so excited for this now. War Of the Worlds is incredible, and even more so when you consider the controversy surrounding it.
“Blue Coal presents the Shadow, the mystery man who strikes terror into the very hearts of sharpsters, lawbreakers and criminals.”
Well, I’ll shorten this up for you, or at least attempt to. The actual episode, “The Death Triangle”, starts off with a prisoner being lashed for attempting to escape. Pediatric surgeon, Dr. Evans, enlists the help of the Shadow by baiting him with a false public announcement. After explaining his situation–he and two other former, escaped prisoners are fearing for their lives after one receives what seems to be a death threat from a fourth prisoner/accomplice–the Shadow agrees to help Dr Evans.
Then there’s a car chase scene. And I’ll note here that this may be a recurring theme in noir.
The three escapees meet at the estate of Raymond Dubrille; the one who had been receiving the death threats in the form of a coffin-shaped music box chiming the prisoner’s danger signal. Pierre Martan, the prisoner from the opening scene, is one of them. After recanting the story of their final day in the dinghy in which they escaped from prison, Dubrille goes for a drink. Something happens with the decanter and/or music box here, but I’m still confused about it even after re-reading it a few times. The object is broken, and Dubrille, scared, runs back to his room to lock himself inside for the night. Where the decanter/music box was, there is now a note left on the table warning Dubrille of his impending doom.
Back in his room,
Dubrille is confronted by Doug Corvet, the fourth man, in his room. Only, something’s different. His hair is grey and he’s grown a beard. Dubrille is holding a loaded gun, while Corvet’s weapon of choice is the throwing knife.
There’s an interesting take on bringing a knife to a gunfight. A throwing knife instead of a dagger, ha! Seems like, close quarters, the knife might almost be a match for a low-caliber gun.
They discuss how, not only had Dubrille ratted out Corvet to the police after their initial escape, he had also been the rat that caused Martan’s lashes in the opening scene. Corvet mentions Martan so much, you’d think he was going to kill Dubrille for Martan. And therein lies the twist of the story. Dubrille then barters for his life, offering to help Corvet kill the Martan and Evans in exchange for his life. Once a rat, always a rat, apparently.
The Shadow is present in the room now, asking for clarification as to whether or not Dubrille would actually follow-up on his offer. Corvet locks the door, and attempts to kill Shadow, throwing his knife. Thinking Corvet is now unarmed, Dubrille turns his gun toward him and pulls the trigger. Corvet throws his knife, which deals a deathly blow to Dubrille. Dubrille shoots twice more before he dies, though.
This is when Evans realizes the twist of the story. Corvet is actually Martan dressed like Corvet! And all is well, since the Shadow explains to Evans that Corvet’s skeleton washed ashore in Trinidad.
What a twist!! What. a. twist. I had to re-read the episode once more, as I’d recommend anyone to do for stories with twist endings.
So we’ve a vigilante hero, double-crossing, a car chase, in this perilous, moonlit tale. There was much more action in this than there was in The Killers, so I was thoroughly satisfied in that regard. Also, I didn’t doubt Corvet’s presence at all, so I’m glad I was fooled.
There wasn’t much action from the Shadow, though, which I’d admit did disappoint me a bit. Although that could have touched a bit more on how he works–I haven’t listened to or read any other episodes of The Shadow.