Behind the Mask (1946)

     Monogram Pictures released Behind the Mask (1946), the second of three films based on the popular Shadow radio program, on May 25, 1946.  “B” Film leading actor Kane Richmond returns as Lamont Cranston, the alter ego of the mysterious Shadow.

     The film begins by following the activities a blackmailing newspaper reporter Jeff Mann, played by James Cardwell.  After threatening several people with exposure, if they do not continue paying him off, Mann returns to his office at the newspaper.


Kane Richmond in Tough to Handle (1937) from the Public Domain

     A few minutes after he returns to the office, Mann is supposedly confronted by the Shadow and killed.  The “Shadow” escapes before the other officer members can break into Mann’s office.

     Meanwhile, the real Shadow, Lamont Cranston, is at his fiance Margo Lane’s apartment preparing for their marriage.  Cranston’s uncle is the Police Commissioner, who leaves the party to investigate Mann’s murder by the “Shadow”.  Cranston knows he must solve the crime and clear the Shadow’s name before he can marry Margo.

     Barbara Reed played Margo Lane in all three of the Shadow films, The Shadow Returns (1946), Behind the Mask and The Missing Lady (1946).  Reed was born on December 29, 1917 in Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada.  By the age of 19, she was acting in films.

     Reed would appear in 22 films, mostly as a leading lady in “B” films.  Tragically, Reed struggled with alcoholism and would end her life at only 45 years of age on December 11, 1963.  She suffocated herself with natural glass.  Reed’s suicide note blamed her suicide on declining health.

     Behind the Mask runs about 58 minutes.  I watched it on Amazon Prime.  Critics panned the film but I don’t know what they are expecting from “B” Films.  It is an entertaining 1 hour film.  It wasn’t filmed to be a classic.

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