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The Flying Serpent

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Sam Newfield, whose career began during the silent film era and lasted until the late 1950s, directed the 1946 film "The Flying Serpent". He was involved in many projects including directing one-reelers, two-reel training films and comedy shorts, TV series, and anything else that he was compensated for. Because Newfield would use many different names throughout his career, many of his projects are still being discovered and added to the list of over 300 films that he directed during his career.

For the low-budget film, "The Flying Serpent" Newfield cast a variety of actors to play the many characters involved in the film. Out of the many individuals cast to act in the film, there is only one that earned any merit within the realm of acting, and that is George Zucco, who was cast to play Professor Andrew Forbes. Zucco began his stage career at the age of 22 in the Canadian provinces and performed in an American vaudeville over the course of the following decades. As World War I began to grow, Zucco made the decision to return to England to join the Army. He was eventually wounded in his right arm by gunfire. The surgery performed on the injured arm left him partially handicapped and he only had the use of two fingers and a thumb on his right hand. Following his time spent in the Army, Zucco entered the London stage scene and began a career that made him a leading man as the 1920s progressed. In 1931 he began working with British Sound Films. The 1931 film, "Dreyfus", was the first film that he was in. He followed this film with thirteen B-grade movies that he starred in over the course of the next four years.

By late 1935 Zucco was on his way to America to act on Broadway. He was signed to play Disraeli in the original play, "Victoria Regina", which ran from December 1935 to June 1936. He was eventually offered a Hollywood contract and performed in his first American picture, "Sinner Take All" in 1936. He began playing roles of the villain in films because his looks fit the part very well. He continued to play villains along with a variety of other roles until 1951 when he suffered a stroke. Following his stroke, he went on to retire and lived in a nursing home until his death.

The Science

Margaret Toscano

Margaret ToscanoClassics professor Margaret Toscano of the University of Utah discusses mythology and the film “The Flying Serpent.”

 

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Margaret Toscano

Univeristy of Utah Department of Languages and Literature

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