- The Shadow/Lamont Cranston
- Barry Vinton: A millionaire big game hunter and sports fisherman.
- Joseph Hart: Vinton's friend and naval craft designer.
- Phil and Charlie: Former convicts who now work at Vinton's private shipyard.
- Mr. Brausch: Vinton's First Mate
aboard the submarine.
- Captain Jones: Captain of a doomed ship.
- Mr. McClennan: Captain Jones's
First Mate aboard the ship.
- Newspaper seller
- Frightened woman passenger
- Vinton's submarine crew
- Captain Jones's ship crew
- US Coast Guard
- Representative of Acme Steamship Agencies
- Representative of a shipping company
- Man addresssing the Maritime Commission
Synopsis: (Warning! Contains spoilers!)
We hear the ringing of a ship's bell. The
first mate of the ship, Mr. McClennan, looks out over the
sea. Something about it worries him. He expresses his concerns
to Captain Jones, telling him that the waters have been calm
and smooth for the last five days. A bad omen. The captain
scoffs; it is nothing more than a sailor's superstitious mind
playing tricks on him.
Suddenly, they hear an explosion from the
engine room. The captain thinks it is more than a boiler that
blew up. He calls down to the crew in the engine room. A sailor
manages to answer him, and is about to tell the captain what
happened when McClennan calls him (the captain) over. They
see a path of white water heading straight for their ship.
It is a torpedo! This shocks and puzzles the captain; there
is no war going on, so why are they being attacked? He quickly
tells McClennan to hold fast as the torpedo is about to hit...
As the ship sinks, the crew manages to climb
aboard a lifeboat and lower themselves into the water. At
that moment, they spot a submarine rising out of the sea.
So this is the culprit who sent the torpedo at them. To the
crew's horror, a man emerges from the submarine, wielding
a machine gun. He opens fire on the helpless sailors.
The captain's pleas for mercy are drowned
out by the bullets...
We now hear the newspaper seller announcing a headline about
a massacre on the high seas. Acme Steamship Agencies receives
a phonecall from a frightened woman wanting to cancel her
reservation on their cruise ship, the Princess Marie, claiming
that sailing would be suicide. Elsewhere, a shipping company
tries to convince a businessman to ship their goods with them,
and assures him that their ships are safe. The businessman
does not believe them. When told that his goods will be insured,
he retorts that the insurance rates will be four times higher
than usual. He cancels his shipment.
The Maritime Commission now has a huge problem on its hands.
For the last three months, 18 ships from around the world
have been mysteriously sunk. In the panic that ensued, passengers
have cancelled their reservations, freight shipments are being
withdrawn, even crewmen have deserted their ships. No one
wants to be on the high seas, and there is nothing the Maritime
Commission can do.
At a restaurant somewhere, Lamont orders
another round of coffee for himself and Margo. They discuss
the mystery surrounding the sunken ships. Lamont notes that
three months ago, the first ship disappears, then a few days
later a second ship was sunk and the bullet-ridden bodies
of its crew were found dead in their lifeboat. Each succeeding
disaster has been increasingly gruesome. Lamont points out
that international jealousy is not a cause, since each of
the ships were from a different country. It must be the work
of a pirate. Margo scoffs at the idea, but Lamont is serious.
This pirate has not been found since there's no one alive
to see him. What bothers Lamont more is the pirate's motive;
he has preyed on every type of ship from luxury superliners
to the common tramp (a type of cargo ship), and the ships'
booty has been untouched. Lamont deduces that the pirate must
have used a submarine to make him invisible to the ships.
The pirate must also be wealthy enough to have that submarine
built for him in secrecy, and for that to happen he will need
someone to design one. Only a few people in the world can
do that. A few secret enquiries at the Naval Department in
Washington has yielded a clue: a naval craft designer by the
name of Joseph Hart who had been dishonourably discharged
from his position. Hart now lives alone in a small house on
Oak Road. It is time for The Shadow to pay a visit.
At Hart's house, Hart asks his guest, Barry
Vinton, to hand him another bottle of liquor. He does so and
Hart pours himself another glass. It is obvious that Hart
is getting drunk.Vinton is worried by this, and warns Hart
that his drinking will loosen his tongue and cause him to
reveal the dangerous secret that they share. Hart assures
Vinton that he has not said anything. Vinton still fears he
might have a slip of tongue, and tells Hart to pull himself
together. Hart cannot. Night after night, he is tormented
by nightmares of helpless ships sinking into the depths and
the faces of floating corpses. He is racked with guilt for
designing and building that submarine for Vinton. Vinton reminds
Hart that he was paid well for his services. Hart replies
that it was money soaked in blood; he feels responsible for
the terror that the insane Vinton has caused.
Hart finally asks Vinton why he has come.
Vinton tells him that lately he has been wondering why he
let him live; he has become too dangerous to his interests.
Hart protests. Vinton tells him that he will spare him if
he can prove that their secret is safe, and that he (Hart)
can help him in the future. When Hart protests again, Vinton
insists that he come aboard the submarine on its next cruise.
Hart realises that he will never come back from this particular
voyage, and Vinton confirms his fears. But before he leaves
Hart in the middle of the sea, he will force him to witness
the lethal efficiency of the submarine he designed. Hart begs
Vinton to kill him now and get it over with, but Vinton is
eager to have him witness his marksmanship as he fires on
a terrified crew. Hart protests in vain. Vinton warns him
that if he keeps up this attitude, he will request him to
"pack his yatching clothes", something which they
will both deeply regret.
Vinton leaves, and Hart is left all alone in his despair.
The Shadow confronts Hart and offers his help in exchange
for revealing his secret. When Hart refuses, The Shadow tells
him that he has heard everything that has passed between him
and Vinton, and that information is enough to hang him. But
Hart still does not think he can do anything. What is done
is done. The Shadow tells Hart that his conscience will tell
him to do what is right to stop Vinton. Finally, Hart recounts
his meeting with Vinton.
Until a year ago, Hart only knew Vinton by his reputation
as a millionaire sportsman who enjoyed deep sea fishing and
a big game hunting. One day, Vinton came to him seeking a
design for a new race boat. From then on, they became friends.
Because of this friendship, Hart agreed to build Vinton a
submarine, The vessel was built in secret at Vinton's private
shipyard out at Kerry's Point. On day of the submarine's launch,
Vinton revealed to him what it would truly be used for. Vinton
had always been a killer, but big game had lost its appeal,
and now he turned to what he regarded as a new sport: the
sinking of ships and the killing of the defenceless men on
board. Hart was horrified.
The Shadow asks Hart if he knew the exact
location of the submarine. Hart does not know; if he knew,
he would blow it up and himself with it. Suddenly it hits
him. Why should he wait to die at Vinton's hand? He will fool
Vinton by doing it himself. No more tortured, sleepless nights
for him. No more headlines about another boat being sunk.
Vinton will never take him on that voyage. Ever.
Before The Shadow can stop him, Hart pulls out a gun and
Later that night, Lamont and Margo drive
out to Kerry's Point and park in a desolate spot to avoid
being seen. Margo sees a light from the shipyard and notes
that the shipyard itself surrounded by a high wall, giving
it an eerie look of a prison. Lamont tells her that perhaps
it is meant as a prison for those who work in it. He gives
Margo instructions to wait until he finds the submarine, after
which he will contact her on their private wireless. She will
then proceed to contact the US Coast Guard headquarters in
Washington and relay his message. The Coast Guard has given
their full cooperation in this matter, and will act accordingly.
Margo wishes The Shadow good luck.
At the shipyard, two workers named Phil and Charlie lower
the last of the torpedoes into the submarine. They notice
that the submarine has taken plenty of supplies and ammunition,
hence it must be a long tip this time round. Suddenly, one
of them hears a noise. It is dismissed as the wind blowing
the door shut. Unbeknownst to them, The Shadow has entered
Phil is uneasy. He confides his feelings to Charlie. It seems
that they have both been cooped up in the shipyard for three
months with no contact with the outside world, not even a
newspaper. Phil would rather be back in prison, at least in
prison you know when your stay is over and you leave. As far
as he's concerned, this shipyard gives him the creeps. The
men question Vinton's motives about the submarine. They were
told that it was used to hunt whales, but they do not believe
When Vinton comes in to check on their progress, they nervously
ask him for a few days off. Vinton refuses their request.
They continue to press their case, telling him that though
he's paid them well, they haven't had a chance to spend it,
and one of them has a wife and child waiting for him. When
Vinton refuses again, they threaten to walk out. Vinton merely
reminds them of their co-worker, Mr. Hadley, who tried to
do the same, but ended up falling from the wall. It turns
out it was no accident; he was shot. Phil and Charlie fall
After Vinton leaves, Phil and Charlie have
a sinking feeling that they will be here for a very, very
long time. The Shadow finally makes himself known and offers
them help in exchange for information about the submarine.
The men are suspicious at first, but they eventually tell
him that the submarine is hidden in an underground berth and
it will sail at midnight tonight, heading for Cape Francis.
The Shadow immediately informs Margo about Vinton's plans.
The very next morning, we find Vinton in
his submarine, searching for his next quarry. His first mate,
Mr Brausch, tells him that they are 700 miles due east of
Cape Francis, following the shippping lane. The sun has just
risen, giving them good visibility. Vinton takes over the
submarine's periscope; he is in good spirits for today's hunt.
He soon spots something in the water and asks Brausch to take
a look. It seems they have found a steam ship, The Orpheus,
a luxury liner with a full passenger list including several
ambassadors. Vinton orders his crew to increase the submarine's
speed, and Brausch to ready the torpedoes. Vinton gleefully
looks forward to the kill, and orders the first torpedo to
be fired. He eagerly watches as the torpedo heads straight
for the ship. Much to his surprise and dismay, the torpedo
fails to explode on impact. A dud! Undeterred, Vinton orders
a second torpedo to be fired, but it too is a dud. Vinton
soon hears The Shadow's mocking laughter. The Shadow reveals
that he has sabotaged all of the submarine's torpedos.
Vinton challenges The Shadow and orders the crew to raise
the submarine to the surface. If he cannot sink the ship with
the torpedoes, the submarine's deck guns will do the trick.
The Shadow tells Vinton that he is mad. "Madman, am I?
Very well, I'll show you the full extent of my madness!"
When the submarine has surfaced, Vinton orders the crew to
man the guns, and confidently asks The Shadow if he wants
to join him up on deck to watch the killing. But it seems
The Shadow has beaten him to it. Vinton is annoyed. The Shadow
assures Vinton that he will stay near him. Suddenly, one of
the crewmen reports that the guns are jammed. Another sabotage
by The Shadow! Not to be outfoxed, Vinton orders the crew
to ram the ship's hull. The submarine is equiped with a ramming
device on its prowl. One blow will sink the ship. The Shadow
laughs at Vinton's idea, and tells him that the ship is deserted,
filled with explosives and set adrift by the Coast Guard.
One blow will send them all to kingdom come. Vinton thinks
he is lying. The Shadow tells him that he will find out the
truth soon enough; they are about to hit the ship. Vinton
quickly tells the crew to put the engine in reverse. The submarine
stops just in time, and comes to rest at the ship's side.
Vinton laughs at The Shadow, thinking he has outwitted
him, but The Shadow reveals that he now has Vinton exactly where he
wants him. He calls out to the Coast Guard, who have been hiding on
the ship all along. The Coast Guard board the submarine and arrest the
Vinton dodges the Coast Guard, jumps back
into the submarine and shuts the hatch. He heads to the engine
room, intending to manouver the dive. As he checks the valves
in the engine room, he wonders out loud what The Shadow would
be saying up on the submarine's deck. The Shadow replies that
it would be pointless for Vinton to make that dive. Vinton
is shocked. He pulls out a gun. The Shadow taunts Vinton by
revealing that he is in a particular corner of the room. Vinton
fires. There is silence. Vinton believes he has killed The
Shadow, but The Shadow tells him that he has missed. Infuriated,
Vinton begins firing indiscriminately around the room.
The Coast Guard soon burst into the engine
room and arrest Vinton. The Shadow mocks Vinton by telling
him that his marksmanship is deplorable. Upon hearing The
Shadow's voice, one of the Coast Guard asks him who he is.
Vinton taunts The Shadow to reveal himself, and calls him
a glory-seeker. The Shadow replies that he seeks no glory;
his reward is that men and ships can once more safely sail
The Shadow's work is done.