Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday's Favorite OTR

The Shadow: “Death and the Crown of Odalph” 1/2/49

This one starts out with some atmospheric exposition giving us the history of the Crown of Odalph—the jeweled crown of an 8th Century Viking King. It sets just the right tone for the episode, in which the ancient king seems to have come back from the grave. He proceeds to feed information alternately to a pair of thieves and to the rightful contemporary owners of the crown, setting everyone against each other in a way that leads to a string of murders.

Lamont and Margo get involved, of course and soon begin stumbling over some of the corpses themselves. It all leads up to a very satisfying and spooky resolution. As is typical of many of the best Shadow episodes, the spooky feeling generated by the apparent appearance of a ghost remains in effect even when a “rational” explanation is eventually provided.

There’s also a nice touch involving the thieves. One of them is very cold-blooded regarding murder, while the other dislikes killing and grows more and more panicky as the episode progresses. It was an unusual and effective bit of characterization, added not so much to further the plot but to give two otherwise one-dimensional characters some individual personality—while also helping to build up the spookiness factor even farther.

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