Sunday Matinee: Captain America

This weekend The Avengers opened to massive amounts of money. The first character to hit the big screen from Marvel was Captain America in 1944 in the form of a serial. It varied greatly from the comics. Dick Purcell starred as District Attorney Grant Gardner aka Captain America. He didn’t have a shield just a gun but it was Republic Pictures most expensive serial they had made at the time.

Captain America isn’t fighting Nazis in the film despite fighting them all the time in the comics, he’s fighting against Lionel Atwill who plays Dr Cyrus Maldor aka The Scarab. The Scarab is behind a string of mysterious suicides caused by his Purple Death drug. It seems that Scarab is trying to create a doomsday device by acquiring other devices known as the “Dynamic Vibrator” and the “Electronic Firebolt”. The film isn’t true to the comic but it’s a lot of fun despite all the evil devices sounding like they’re something from a cheesy porn film.

Unlike DC Comics another Marvel character wouldn’t grace the big screen until 1986 when Howard the Duck bombed for George Lucas.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Matinee: Captain America”

  1. Marvel may not have hit the big screens until Howard the Duck, but it’s worth noting that Marvel had very successful TV adaptations from the 60s Spider-Man cartoon and the 70s Incredible Hulk series. The TV format is most similar to comic books anyway (though serials were pretty close too). Cap himself even had a couple of TV movies in the 70s where he rode a boss motorcycle that ran silent if he wanted it to!

  2. The first Avenger!

    Not bad for a film made in the 40’s compared to today’s Movies and shows.

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