Entertainment » Movies

The Shadow

by JC Alvarez
Tuesday Feb 25, 2014

After the success of the first "Batman" film as realized on the big screen by director Tim Burton in the 90s, every major studio clamored for a superhero franchise all of their own. Then still-emerging big screen idol Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), the most recognizable of the Baldwin Brothers -- no small thanks to his high profile Hollywood marriage to actress Kim Basinger -- landed himself what many thought would be the next big hit! But where no evil escapes the wrath of "The Shadow" -- the box office wasn’t as easy an adversary for this hero to conquer.

Singularly popularized in the classic radio show and pulp fiction, this crime-fighting vigilante didn’t benefit from the pop-culture relevance of his four-color contemporaries -- the aforementioned Batman, or the more colorful Superman. Nonetheless The Shadow’s appeal merited the character a full-on movie adaptation. In this "Collector’s Edition" Blu-ray release, true fans can enjoy the movie in a magnificent high-definition transfer, with brand new interviews with the film’s cast and director.

Taking a page from its radio roots and paying homage to Tensile Town’s glory days
"The Shadow"
glamorizes in brilliant fashion -- the HD re-mastering for this edition is among one of the best examples of the magic of the medium, but story and script-wise it falls a little short of the spectacle one would want from a superhero film. The sets look flat as a comic strip, but where films like Warren Beatty’s "Dick Tracy" worked that skillfully to their advantage, here it is little more than smoke and mirrors - even if that is part of The Shadow’s super-powers. High-wiring between Batman and Indiana Jones, "The Shadow" lacks the charm and magic of either...languishing as the matinee serial it works to emulate.

The film does excel at re-creating a well-crafted homage to film noir and especially to the films of the era. If "The Shadow" were to be rebooted today -- the genre has become much more stylized -- the story would probably move at a different pace. In the film makers documentary it is clear that the goal was to make it as close to a 30’s like film as possible, but the menace of "The Shadow" is never as sumptuous as today’s three-dimensional icons.

"The Shadow: Collector’s Edition"
starring Alec Baldwin is available now on Blu-ray for $29.99

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".


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