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Episode 141 - The Shadow: LIVE! (w/ Pete Davidson)

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Dr. Tam does a "metal analysis" and determines that Khan's coin was made of "bronzium." He stares at it in wonder and claims "I didn't think it existed, but my God, here it is." Sorry, Dr, but bronzium is just the Medieval Latin for bronze, one of the most oldest and widespread metal alloys known to man - the bronze age, ever heard of it? Then he goes into how bronzium can be used to produce a weapon. What follows is just random words thrown together. He says "supposedly it is very unstable on the molecular level..only the cell bonds hold it in check...if the power of the cell were to turn on itself in an implosion...then you'll have an explosion." If anyone can make sense of that explanation or the blackboard diagram, please let me know. The problem is, bronze is rather stable. Look at all the bronze statues around. They won't be imploding/exploding any time soon no matter how much beryllium you throw at them. Also, Dr. Tam keeps mixing up "molecules" and "cells." Metals are inert non-living things and thus they don't have cells. I feel bad for Dr. Lane, who probably toiled for years on this project, while Dr. Tam talks it out over 2 minutes and figures it out. Who knew all it took was a little bit of bronze.

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3. What New York bridge is this supposed to be? For the "city that never sleeps," there is absolutely no other people or traffic on it at all. And it's so rinky-dink and narrow, it looks like it would only allow for two lanes of traffic at most.

 

The shape reminds me of the Manhattan Bridge.

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Would like confirmation whether this Knife was also The Knife, co-host of The Worst Idea Of All Time. If so, he really has a long standing career, as well as a home being stuck at TSA.

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... but i loved tim curry in this .. stole the show.

 

I love Tim Curry in everything. Even Congo. I will watch him in anything.

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Considering Lamont's insouciant attitude when he mind flays his uncle into forgetting about the Shadow, it makes me feel like he's had to do that a lot. Was anyone else worried that he might be causing irreparable neurological damage?

 

Also, what do you think the Master's recidivism rate is for his training? Better or worse than the 50% shown in the film?

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I'm not talking about physical attractiveness. I'm saying he reads her mind and acts upon that knowledge. It's not like he's walking up to a stranger, striking up a conversation, and hoping against hope that he says the right things to keep the conversation going. He knows what she's thinking, so he knows exactly what to say to keep her interest piqued. He's manipulating the odds. And if he's willing to do that to her, a beautiful woman he's never met before, I have no doubt that he's probably done it before. The catch is, with Margo, she's able to do it right back to him--which, of course, he doesn't like at all.

 

Oops, my mind immediately went to his physical appearance when you mentioned attractiveness. Priorities.

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- The title card at the beginning of the movie says, "Opium Fields, Tibet."

 

1. It's not opium fields, it's poppy fields.

 

2. Tibet was never involved in the opium trade. For god's sake, the leader of the country was a monk. It'd be like people having turf wars over marijuana farms in Vatican City.

 

- Poor John Lone, being in this dreck. John Lone starred in BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI's The Last Emperor, which won ALL 9 of the Academy Awards for which it was nominated, including Best Picture and Best Director. Its soundtrack, which was written by Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Byrne, remains one of my favorite soundtracks (it's on Spotify!).

 

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- The movie conflates the Mongols, the Manchus, and Han Chinese.

 

- It's interesting that Shiwan Khan described U.S.A. as decadent when the country was going through the Great Depression, and also when 1930s Shanghai was one of the most decadent places in the world.

 

- Could't make out the hilarity Ying Ko said after the murder of 2 people. But in the Chinese restaurant Lamont Cranston ordered, "Stir-fried shrimp, stir-fried bamboo shoots and mushrooms, and seafood soup." Maybe they realized that Peking duck is way too heavy for an après-nightclub meal.

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I love Tim Curry in everything. Even Congo. I will watch him in anything.

 

Tim Curry always makes something worth watching. How else can you explain the enduring legacy of "Clue"? Yes, it's a top-shelf 80s comedy cast, but Curry gets the best lines, moments, and is even the hero in 2 out of 3 endings.

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Also, what do you think the Master's recidivism rate is for his training? Better or worse than the 50% shown in the film?

 

50% is Lamont's success rate in understanding when someone is telling him that they killed his master. The first conversation with Shiwan really didn't seem to land.

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Really?

To me it felt like he didnt want to be there.

He googled the knife and then proclaimed he didn't care repeatedly.

Ditto that. I'm not one to write in and complain about the guests on the show, they're almost always hilarious and interesting. But this guy. Complete non-involvement. Maroon Shirt Guy in the audience had more presence on this episode. What's this guy's live show like, a series of blinks?

Solid episode, great discussion-I just get mildly annoyed when someone is brought in to discuss something and literally adds nothing to the conversation. Can't wait to go back and watch this movie for more context-I remember my reaction the one time I saw in the theater being bemused that a major studio did something as baller as make a 1940's radio serial a summer movie, but that it felt like I was watching the super edited for TV version with all the characterization and story cut out for time.

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i wouldn't be an expert in superheros or anything but from what ive seen, the shadow is one of the worst.

 

basically all you need to catch him is a light source. thats a pretty massive weakness. its as bad as another hero im really bored of... spiderman ... all you have to do to defeat spiderman is to get him into a large open space ... now what are you gonna swing on peter???

 

other things that really annoyed me:

 

he needs a taxi to get around

 

he uses pneumatic tubes to communicate. so if you really need to get in contact with him you better be close to one of the tubes or youre shit outta luck. the whole set up just seemed massively inefficient. why didnt he just incorporate some sort of communications device into the rings he gave everyone?

 

his transformation is pointless cause nobody can see him

 

and even though someone was using the same method he used to make himself disappear to hide a giant hotel it took him 6 years to see it?

 

and his mortal enemy is a knife???

 

i think if they ever made a sequel they would have just called it "the shadow 2" ... thats the kinda of laziness going on here

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Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this movie confusing everyone is that the solution was right there. The filmmakers already showed they weren't afraid to put in a text crawl ten minutes after the movie started. So why stop there? Five or six more of those placed judiciously throughout and we are all on the same page. Unconventional? Maybe. But what film critic could attack a device bringing clarity to the storytelling?

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Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this movie confusing everyone is that the solution was right there. The filmmakers already showed they weren't afraid to put in a text crawl ten minutes after the movie started. So why stop there? Five or six more of those placed judiciously throughout and we are all on the same page. Unconventional? Maybe. But what film critic could attack a device bringing clarity to the storytelling?

 

Even better? Why not have a radio-style narrator provide backstory and segues? (Perhaps Maurice LaMarche doing his best Welles.) It would be faithful to the source material, yet unique, and could help explain what the heck was going on.

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Tim Curry always makes something worth watching. How else can you explain the enduring legacy of "Clue"? Yes, it's a top-shelf 80s comedy cast, but Curry gets the best lines, moments, and is even the hero in 2 out of 3 endings.

,

 

I will fight you on this. Everyone in Clue is great. Yes, Tim Curry gets many of the best lines ("I buttle, sir") but everyone has good stuff. And I would argue Madeline Kahn's "Flames, flames on the side of my face" is the most quoted line in Clue.

 

And we have already discussed on this very podcast how great Leslie Ann Warren is in even the shittiest of movies. So, like, I think you need to watch Clue again.

 

Also: how great would it have been if Madeline Kahn was the last descendent of Genghis Khan in this movie? I mean, I would have to root for her to rule the world.

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and even though someone was using the same method he used to make himself disappear to hide a giant hotel it took him 6 years to see it?

 

 

Is no one listening to June? Khan hypnotized people to think the building's been gone for years, even though he's only been hiding it for a short while.

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i wouldn't be an expert in superheros or anything but from what ive seen, the shadow is one of the worst.

 

basically all you need to catch him is a light source. thats a pretty massive weakness. its as bad as another hero im really bored of... spiderman ... all you have to do to defeat spiderman is to get him into a large open space ... now what are you gonna swing on pete

 

Not to nerd out on you, because I know they called him a superhero in the podcast but TECHNICALLY the Shadow is a PULP hero not a superhero. There were many characters with powers but there aren't superheroes until Superman is created in 39.

 

Secondly, a light would not defeat the show because it is his MIND powers that make people think he is invisible. All they can see is the shadow.

 

And Spider-Man still has super powers without buildings around, he just loses his mode of transportation. He could make a web slingshot and fling himself across the city in that case, or just take the subway.

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So, I'm going to open with the admission that this movie came out when I was 14 and I thought it was awesome. I was also a huge nerd, so I read the novelization that came out along with the movie. And, more basically, I dug the character of the Shadow, at least as an idea a ton. So... I may have some more insight than the average viewer of the movie. The novelization in particular added detail to the back story that I (vaguely) recall as making much more sense... So, let's get to it.

 

1. Lamont's Powers - he is a psychic, his only real power is to inject images into people's minds. These images take many forms. One, he clouds minds so people can't see him or only see him as a "shadow" because the bright lights make this very difficult. He can inject his own thoughts (words to Penelope, the crazy laughing in people's heads) too, but that's about it. So, he doesn't turn into a shadow or disappear at all. Instead, he clouds men's minds so that they cannot see him, or perceive him differently or as moving very quickly. In reality, this is his only power and he may, for example, still just be standing near them in the middle of a room. Bright lights counter his power by making reality harder to cloud in a victim's mind.

 

2. How he ended up in Mongolia - he was an opium kingpin in Tibet/Mongolia following his time there in world war 1. He never came home. He did many things, some of them ordered, some of them of his own free will, to decimate villages and kill women and children during ww1 that he was very much not proud of. But it earned him a reputation as "Ging Ko" whom the general populace had no idea was not Chinese or Mongolian. He never came home because of the shame. He basically conquered villages during the war that ended up paying him tribute in opium (their only thing of value) which made him wealthy. He was wealthy already, this made him more-so. This is when his master found him.

 

2. The Training - Lamont was trained to hone those powers by his guru guy in Tibet/Mongolia (unclear). The same guy trained Shirwan Khan at the same time(?) or soon after Lamont left. Lamont was picked because (1) he was psychic and had this innate power he didn't know how to control and (2) because he "knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men." Basically, he understood true evil because he WAS evil for so many years. His evil taught him how best to cloud evil men's minds and to make them fear - he could inject fear into their minds too (at least per the lore) because at least a part of Lamont was always "Ging Ko", the opium warlord. One of the things his master taught him was to control this evil alter ego within him.

 

3. The Phurba (the knife) - Lamont was supposed to learn how to master the knife psychically as a part of his training. Basically, the stronger your psychic ability, the Phurba would respond to you and take your orders. It was sentient, but only to the extent that it would follow the control of the most powerful psychic so was working to control it. Hence, Shirwan points out that he killed their mutual master with the Phurba. It's essentially a threat that "I am more powerful than our master!" And, when The Shadow is able to win a mental war against Shirwan, this is a big deal. He is the more powerful man. But, Lamont left his training to come to the US before he was able to master the Phurba. If you are weak, and try to control it, it may, on its own, try and kill you because you can't control it.

 

4. The Hotel - it was purchased 6 years ago, after it was completed. But, it was immediately "torn down" in everyone's mind by Shirwan's mass hypnotism/mind control. So, it was as if it was not there, to everyone. Shirwan was doing this mind control while still in Asia (impressive). Agreed with Cameron H re kids and vagrants wandering into the lot from time to time. Perhaps it was guarded and they were killed?

 

5. The "Mask" - Lamont had no prosthetic mask. He clouded men's minds with his mental ability. He had a scarf, I think. However, to tap into this ability, he had to, at least in part, tap into the inner evil "Ging Ko". So, for visual purposes in the movie, his face showed up as visually distinct in the movie. Also, nicely, it happened to look a good bit more like "the Shadow" from 30's era imagery. But, for purposes of the movie, think of it as psychically tiring and a physical or near-physical transformation. He may have worn dark colors to make it easier to move about without constantly keeping other's minds clouded, since it would be tiring to do so.

 

6. The Warriors - were Mongolian, not Chinese. They were warriors, I think, who guarded the place where Lamont trained. They were basically intended to be classic Mongolian warriors trained just as they would have been in Gengis Khan's time.

 

7. The Sarcophagus - this was just a bit of show. I think Shirwan actually arrived in the US in the casket, but it was just for dramatic effect. He kind of wanted the Shadow (of which he knew) to be his adversary, so, he made an appearance that would raise his attention. What did he eat? Maybe the sarcophagus came with him on a normal boat, but he had it delivered one evening to the museum?

 

8. Shirwan Khan - was a descendent of Gengis, but didn't Gengis have like a zillion kids as he conquered? So, I think the idea was he was his direct lineal decendent, heir to his throne, if there were one. Anyway, he had the same powers as Lamont.

 

9. Margot Lane - also psychic, but untrained. He was not afraid of her as smart or beautiful, he was afraid of her because she could, with effort, basically read his mind. So, she would learn who he really was. He eventually embraced this, as you saw.

 

So, I feel like large chunks of that info was not in the movies, but I remember reading it (or something like that) in the novelization. Hopefully, that makes things more-clear? Sorry, typing on an iPhone at a bar... So, please excuse weird typos...

 

Danke.

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Fresherpie, The Shadow can cloud other people's minds and can see the evil in their hearts, but can he also read their minds/thoughts? For some reason, this wasn't clear to me.

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Not to nerd out on you, because I know they called him a superhero in the podcast but TECHNICALLY the Shadow is a PULP hero not a superhero. There were many characters with powers but there aren't superheroes until Superman is created in 39.

 

Secondly, a light would not defeat the show because it is his MIND powers that make people think he is invisible. All they can see is the shadow.

 

And Spider-Man still has super powers without buildings around, he just loses his mode of transportation. He could make a web slingshot and fling himself across the city in that case, or just take the subway.

nerd away ... i like that point about the superheroes .. but you can just make the shadows USP invalid by simply using a torch. instead of using his mind powers to make himself invisible why not just use them to get the bad guys to stop what theyre doing. ahh, i'm just over thinking this.

 

and i just don't get spiderman. what exactly are his super powers ... strength, reflexes and spidersense? .. i just don't see what good these are to him in a field or something ... but i guess that could be said about alot of these characters. and what would a villian be if he just stood around in a field all day.... just a guy in a field ...

 

i'm sorry, its late and i'm cranky, its been a long day .. time for bed. sorry for upsetting any spidey fans

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one more thing ... fresher pie mentioned the novelisation ... but has this been mentioned?

 

from wikipedia:

 

James Luceno wrote the novelization which went deeper into the events of the film and included many nods to the radio show and the original pulp magazines, most significantly alluding to the fact that The Shadow's true identity was Kent Allard and that 'Lamont Cranston' was just another identity he assumed.

 

maybe this was going to be in one of the sequels but who is kent allard?

 

if im reading this correctly ... in this movie the shadow and cranston are the same person ... but in the original material allard is actually the shadow. so was he the guy in tibet who then comes back to new york where he assumes the identity of cranston? but cranston is a real person, he has family? is allard using his powers to make himself look like cranston and then like the shadow?

 

he's like one of those russian nesting dolls.

 

and where did the original cranston go? or am i reading "identity he assumed" the worng way?

 

i think i just went down a rabbit hole arseways .. carry on .. nothing to see here

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nerd away ... i like that point about the superheroes .. but you can just make the shadows USP invalid by simply using a torch. instead of using his mind powers to make himself invisible why not just use them to get the bad guys to stop what theyre doing. ahh, i'm just over thinking this.

 

and i just don't get spiderman. what exactly are his super powers ... strength, reflexes and spidersense? .. i just don't see what good these are to him in a field or something ... but i guess that could be said about alot of these characters. and what would a villian be if he just stood around in a field all day.... just a guy in a field ...

 

i'm sorry, its late and i'm cranky, its been a long day .. time for bed. sorry for upsetting any spidey fans

Sorry you are cranky! I will not defend Spider-Man. He has been in too many movies and I am kinda sick of him. (I will cut a bitch over Spider-Gwen but she has been in no movies.) most superhero powers would be useless in a real fight. You see the guy in the bright costume? Shoot him.

 

 

FreaherPie, you are kind of blowing my mind with this info. And the fact that there was a novelization! I kind a of want to read it. I was wondering why he was in Mongolia for WWI and then I went down this Wikipedia rabbit hole of "were American troops sent to Mongolia then?" As, far as I can tell, no. There was revolution but it was between the Russians and the Chinese. IDK. I can't believe I just spent my Friday night researching that.

 

 

Eta: First Time Caller, I think it was just a fake name, not an identity that he stole Don Draper style??

 

Eta2: but I just saw on Wikipedia that Cranston was a real guy and they like shared identities? Like swapped? There was a contract involved? Idk. I can't with this movie. It's TOO weird.

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Oh, and in defense of Pete Davidson (sort of), I didn't think he was a great guest. As far as SNL peeps go, I would take Bobby Moynihan talking about "Over the Top" any day of the week, BUT:

 

1. This movie was really confusing and Pete is a known stoner. I don't think he COULD have been much help figuring it out. I don't think it's that he didn't want to be there. He did TRY and Google things (like the knife),

 

2. If I worked at SNL, I wouldn't want to say anything bad about Alec Baldwin. That dude is on every year and he has a notorious anger management problem. I would be sad if Pete Davidson got murdered because of this movie.

 

(A friend of a relative worked on 30 Rock and I heard things you guys. I heard things. I mean, usually nice guy but will Hulk out on occasion.)

 

Eta: crap. Two posts in a row. I need to get a life now.

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maybe this was going to be in one of the sequels but who is kent allard?

 

if im reading this correctly ... in this movie the shadow and cranston are the same person ... but in the original material allard is actually the shadow. so was he the guy in tibet who then comes back to new york where he assumes the identity of cranston? but cranston is a real person, he has family? is allard using his powers to make himself look like cranston and then like the shadow?

This actually would have been a killer reveal -- that The Shadow isn't actually Cranston at all. If the movie wanted to go a little dark, it could have even delved into the idea that The Shadow struggled with keeping his real identity. That would be an interesting story, a hero who spends his life as an illusion and forgets who he actually is.

 

...

 

By the way, after retiring from acting, the knife went on to a successful music career and released several albums under his (her? their?) real name.

 

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2. If I worked at SNL, I wouldn't want to say anything bad about Alec Baldwin. That dude is on every year and he has a notorious anger management problem. I would be said if Pete Davidson got murdered because of this movie.

 

I was surprised he said the things he said about Baldwin's acting.

 

I also thought he didn't add much to the show.

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