I watched Burn 'em Up Barnes today and it turned out to be pretty entertaining. You can see it at the Internet Archive. It's got Jack Mulhall as a race car driver who feels guilty when his cameraman friend was killed during a race. He let the guy sneak into a restricted area on the track with a dangerous curve and a car went right through the camera. Before dying the friend asks Jack to take care of his kid brother who is played by Frankie Darro. Lola Lane plays the pretty lady with the school bus company that's barely holding on to solvency. A chance meeting puts her and Barnes together right when he's looking for a new enterprise. He's adamant about staying out of the race business. That doesn't last long before he's back behind the wheel again. Edwin Maxwell, Jason Robards, and Francis McDonald all play the villains. Robards is the father of Jason Robards Jr. Maxwell, a rich car company guy, wants Lola's land because he knows there is oil on it and she don't. He can make millions for $5000, if only he can get her to sell. It's touch and go, she nearly signs off several times before he finally scares her into selling the land. Lucky for her Jack and Frankie, with the aid of comic relief machine Julian Rivero, keep battling back until they finally beat down the criminals. Happy ending. Yay! The story is ok, there's a bit of romance, and the action is typical of the time.
One stand out is Frankie Darro who has some interesting action bits. He climbs up walls and jumps into cars windows just like Jackie Chan would do 40 years later. In one nice sequence in Chapter 12 he gets chased on foot. He jumps up and grabs a small pipe (above left) then he uses that to get him to the large pipe which leads to the fire escape and several open windows. It's a nice bit of work, with great timing, that Jackie would have enjoyed. I know Jackie has great respect for the silent actors who did their own stunts. Darro worked in pictures for 51 years. He started in 1924 at age 6 and 9 years before the end of his career he did a couple of episodes of Batman in 1966. He's said to be inside Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet in 1956. I've seen him in several movies from the 1930's. Most of them are on the IA. The rest of the cast does a good job and there's plenty of stuff to do. A fun bit of entertainment that is worth taking a look at.
Typepad jsut added a nice feature to the blog. It automatically collects links to names and gives you a menu of choices. Click and the name is automatically linked. Sweet.