Tarantino to pen ‘The Shadow’?

–PULP FICTION Director to Helm Pulp Hero Film As Well?–

Pajiba.com is reporting that Quentin Tarantino is going to  rewrite or co-write a script for THE SHADOW, now a 20th Century Fox project.TheShadow_DC

After the rights to the radio and pulp magazine character passed from Universal (whose 1994 film version underperformed) to Sony/Columbia, it was a project that Sam Raimi (SPIDER-MAN) developed for several years. Sony sold their rights to Fox, along with a script from Siavash Farahani, with Raimi attached as a producer, and David Slade (30 DAYS OF NIGHT) tentatively set to direct.

The site is speculating that Quentin Tarantino may be interested in directing the film, as well.

The Shadow began as a mysterious, mocking voice on the radio in 1930, as the host and narrator of Street & Smith’s Detective Story Hour. Detective Story was the publisher’s popular mystery magazine, and since radio programs at the time did not have federal copyright protection, and magazines did, they decided to launch the suddenly famous character in his own pulp (newsprint paper) title. 

The character seen in The Shadow Magazine was created by former newspaper reporter Walter B. Gibson. Writing as ‘Maxwell Grant’,  Gibson took the Shadow’s laugh from the radio, his appearance from the ‘Man in Black’  cloaked figures of Victorian (and older) literature, and gave him skills suggested from his own hobby of stage magic. Two big .45 automatics gave deadly weight to his vigilante crusade.

In 1937, a new radio series featured the Shadow in one of his several identies from the the pulp novels, Lamont Cranston.  Taking his ability to hide in the shadows a step further, the show granted him the “hypnotic power to cloud mens’ minds, so they cannot see him”. For vocal contrast, they created his “aide and companion, the lovely Margo Lane” — rather than pair him with one of his many male agents from the magazine. Orson Wells was the first Lamont Cranston, though former Shadow/narrator Frank Redick provided his opening and closing warnings and sardonic laughter. Brilliant actor that he was, Orson Welles could never master that chilling graveyard  chortle. Successors Bill Johnstone and Brett Morrison got it down to a science.

The Shadow ReturnsMovie versions included THE SHADOW STRIKES (1937) and INTERNATIONAL CRIME (1938) ,  both with Rod LaRoque as Lamont Cranston, and THE SHADOW (1940 chapterplay) starring Victor Jory.  Kane Richmond donned the mask in THE SHADOW RETURNS (1946), BEHIND THE MASK, and THE MISSING LADY. Richard Derr was the first film Shadow to actually turn invisible in 1958’s INVISIBLE AVENGER, put together from a failed attempt at a TV series.

Alec Baldwin tried on the slouch hat and cape in Russell Mulcahy’s THE SHADOW, but it proved to be a bad fit. The film suffered from an inconsisent approach, shifting from a serious tone to campy comedy from scene to scene, and never really jelling into anything memorable.

The Shadow has also appeared in newspaper strips and comic books on and off, from the 1940 through to today.

About the Author

Tom Powers

Tom Powers was Editor of Starlog.com from 2005-2008. He's been involved in independent filmmaking, voice acting, and also writes fiction and fact-based articles elsewhere as Thomas V. Powers.

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