Burn 'Em Up Barnes Volume 1 (Chapters 1-6)
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- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: February 24, 2004
- Originally Released: 1934
- Label: Alpha Video
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Performers, Cast and Crew:
|Starring||Frankie Darro & Jason Robards|
|Directed by||Colbert Clark & Armand Schaefer|
|Screenplay by||Al Martin, Armand Schaefer, Barney A. Sarecky & Sherman Lowe|
Description by OLDIES.com:
Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:
Based on 19 ratings.
This 12-chapter Mascot serial is one of the most action-packed old things you're likely to find. In fact, the cliffhanger endings are almost anticlimactic, given that the plot is a constant string of one tough scrape after another, with Murphy's Law in full effect for our heroes. Young Marjorie Temple is trying to run a small transportation business, but unscrupulous car manufacturer Lymon Warren and his henchman, Mr. Drummond, want to buy her land because they know there's oil on the property. Top race driver "Burn 'Em Up" Barnes (they actually call him "Burn 'Em Up" as a name throughout, even though it's got to rank up there with the most awkward nicknames in history) and his teenage sidekick Bobbie help her out, battling Drummond and his hoard of badguys. Drummond frames Barnes for murder but Bobbie has film that proves Barnes's innocence, so they fight over the film for a while, with it changing hands repeatedly during one fight and high-speed backroads chase after another. Then they fight over a signed confession for a few chapters, and then they try to wreck the school bus that Marjorie needs for her business. Barnes saves the day by getting a job as a movie stuntman, which leads to still more hairy situations. The plot quickly becomes superfluous to the action, but it delivers plenty of that, with only a few cheats on the cliffhangers. Solid stuff for serials fans or those who like watching antique vehicles going full-tilt.
BURN-'EM-UP BARNES (Mascot, 1934, 12 chapters) is the best serial I've seen in a long time, and reminded me of why I enjoy watching these darn things.
Barnes is a champion driver of racecars, and when his best friend George, a newsreel photographer, is killed covering one of his races, Barnes takes in George's kid brudder Bobbie, played by the inimitable Frankie Darro. Barnes is half-owner with Miss Marjorie Temple (Lola Lane) of a garage and schoolbus company, only get this: the property stands over extremely valuable oil deposits, unknown to Barnes, Bobbie, Marjorie, or Tony, the goofy Italian mechanic who's a cross between Chico Marx and Mr. Bean. Two evil guys, Warren and Drummond, know, though, and they'll stop at nothing to break the Barnes-Temple Company so that Marjorie has to sell them the land. And the only reason I'm going on about the plot is because it sets up all the cliffhangers, perils, and thrills so neatly.
Barnes, y'see, first tries to race an experimental car down a mountainside to get the money to save their business, only the car is rigged and he's framed for murder. Luckily, Bobbie caught the rigging on his newsreel camera, but unluckily the bad guys saw him, although luckily Bobbie escaped with the film, but unluckily he escaped in a very slow truck and the bad guys are pursuing him in a very fast roadster. For the better part of two full chapters, the villains chase Bobbie while Burn-'em-Up chases the villains. The race concludes with Barnes scaling the back of the stands at the speedway, and falling to his apparent doom! Wow!
A movie crew has seen some of Barnes' action stunts, though, and they offer him a part as a stuntman. He's happy to take the job, and more perils ensure, particularly an aero plane rigged to make a sudden fiery stop.
A running thrill is that every chapter or so, just when things look bleakest, Marjorie begins to sign the deed of sale, and Barnes, Bobbie, or the hapless Tony conspire to stop her at the last second. You'd think she'd learn.
Mulhall and Darro demonstrate more enthusiasm than any other serial heroes I've ever seen; they seem to relish being part of the non-stop action. Darro is particularly delightful, and if you haven't seen him at his best, you're in for a treat. The son of circus acrobats, Darro doesn't flee from a room - he does a handstand, a spring, and then leaps out of a window head-first.
The serial ends up in a rooftop chase across a very art-decoish building, and I sure wish I knew where that was. One of the best things about this chapterplay is all of the outdoor location work (very little of it is was filmed indoors). I've been told this was filmed around Los Angeles and Encino, although one of the stores is clearly marked "Petaluma Grocery".
Oh, by the way, the Alpha DVD is terrific, and belies its inexpensive cost. A treat from start to finish, BURN-'EM-UP BARNES carries my highest cliffhanger recommendation.
- Sales Rank: 48,067
- UPC: 089218434999
- Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
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