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Film / Radar Secret Service

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Radar Secret Service is a 1950 movie that purports to show the more or less fantastic powers of the then newly-invented radar, and what they might lead to 20 Minutes into the Future. The eponymous agency is apparently headquartered in Washington, D.C. and may or may not have branch offices.

The movie's plot centers around a hijacked convoy carrying uranium. This uranium was stolen from under the Radar Secret Service's nose by The Mafia, but still has to be shipped down river to some vaguely evil bad guys. However, the Radar Secret Service is on the trail, using their all-knowing, all-seeing electronic marvel to find the uranium and follow them. It's a battle of wits and double-crossing to get the bad guys.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.


Radar Secret Service contains examples of these tropes:

  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: Highly radioactive material is carried around in an unshielded van with no sign of health problems.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The film portrays radar as an Everything Sensor that can find a variety of things that in real life would require several completely different types of equipment:
    • Distinct items through all the buildings and numerous moving objects (since this is usually radioactive material, the creators may have confused radar for Geiger counters).
    • Schools of fish in the ocean (suggesting confusion with sonar).
    • Mineral deposits deep underground (which is just outside the capability of any ground-penetrating radar).
    • A gun buried in loose sand (without a dedicated high-frequency ground-penetrating radar set).
    • Live video of arbitrary locations.
  • Cool Car: Or at least the producers' attempt at one. The Radar Secret Service patrol car has a metallic sphere on top that is probably supposed to be a radome. It better resembles a high school Van de Graff generator.
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  • Dull Surprise: The maid, or as Mike and the Bots suggest, "The director's mistress, ladies and gentlemen!"
  • Hypochondria: The only Mook with even the vaguest hint of character appears to have it. Whether he actually does or he's just a Bad Liar is questionable; he does have pills, but he doesn't remember whether he was to take eight at five or five at eight. His "buddy" suggests he errs on the side of caution and take thirteen.
  • Love Triangle: The gang boss, his mob client, and their mutual love interest (there's no better description for her character).
  • Idiot Ball: Everyone gets a turn, but specifically:
    • The mustachio'd g-man tries to catch a gangster without backup and get sneaked up on by the mustachio'd gang boss on by bad luck, despite the waitress' attempt to stall his assailant.
    • The mustachio'd (there's a trend) gang boss holds his client and their mutual love interest at gunpoint. He tells them to face the wall, away from him, probably in preparation for execution. Of course the two pass a gun between them and turn the tables.
  • Mook: Any mobster that isn't the gang boss or the client.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    • The mustachio'd gang boss gets shot in the left shoulder (naturally) in the back while trying to escape. This causes him visible distress, but he manages to drive all the way to his appointment to hold the Idiot Ball as described above. He also uses his left arm rather freely, never minding the bone and tissue damage one would expect from such a wound.
    • The waitress gets shot in the arm at the very end. Other than sliding down a wall in shock, it may as well have been a rather nasty bee sting.
  • Only Six Faces: Not uncommon for postwar films, but:
    • All of the men wear suits and fedoras. Both the more punchy g-man and the gang boss have thin mustaches; everyone else is dark-haired and clean-shaven. The easiest way to tell the characters apart is by their ties.
    • Both of the female characters with any screen time (so, not the maid mentioned above) are average-height blondes with short, sculpted hair. One is occasionally dressed as a waitress, but both wear black otherwise.
    • The lack of memorable names doesn't help.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The mook hanger-on played by Sid Melton.
  • Tap on the Head: Played with unintentionally. The mustachio'd g-man receives one to the back of the head. Realistically, he recovers quickly. Unrealistically, he recovers quickly despite it being delivered via full-armed Pistol-Whipping to the top-rear of his head, where the skull is thinnest.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: How two Mooks sent on a decoy run get theirs.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: An unusual aural variant—the mustachio'd g-man listens to the waitress make a phone call. He determines the number she dials by listening to the timing of the rotary phone as she dials, then doesn't even bother to try and eavesdrop on her actual conversation. It's the one clever thing in the entire film.


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