The Black Widow (serial)

The Black Widow (1947) is a Republic Movie serial. Thirteen episodes were made.

The Black Widow
Directed bySpencer Gordon Bennet
Fred C. Brannon
Produced byM. J. Frankovich
Written byFranklin Adreon
Basil Dickey
Jesse Duffy
Sol Shor
StarringBruce Edwards
Virginia Lindley
Carol Forman
Anthony Warde
Ramsay Ames
I. Stanford Jolley
Theodore Gottlieb
CinematographyJohn MacBurnie
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • November 1, 1947 (1947-11-01) (U.S. serial)[1]
  • 1966 (1966) (U.S. TV film)[1]
Running time
13 chapters / 180 minutes (serial)[1]
6 26½-minute episodes (TV)[1]
100 minutes (TV film)[1]
Budget$168,995 (negative cost: $186,314)[1]


The Editor of the Daily Clarion newspaper hires amateur criminologist Steve Colt to solve a series of murders, all involving venomous spider bites.

Meanwhile, King Hitomu has sent his daughter Sombra to the United States to fulfill his plan for global domination. There she poses as a fortune teller and, with a gang of henchmen, attempts to steal a prototype Atomic Rocket Engine.



The Black Widow was budgeted at $168,995 although the final negative cost was $186,314 (a $17,319, or 10.2%, overspend). It was the most expensive Republic serial of 1947.[1]

It was filmed between 11 April and 8 May 1947.[1] The serial's production number was 1697.[1]

This was one of only four 13-chapter serials to be released by Republic. Three of the four were released in 1947, the only original serials released in that year. The fourth serial of the year was a re-release of the 15-chapter, 1941 serial Jungle Girl. This marked the first time Republic had re-released a serial to add to their first run serial releases.[1]


Special Effects

Created by the Lydecker brothers.



The Black Widow's official release date is 1 November 1947, although this is actually the date the sixth chapter was made available to film exchanges.[1]


In the early 1950s, The Black Widow was one of fourteen Republic serials edited into a television series. It was broadcast in six 26½-minute episodes.[1]

The Black Widow was one of twenty-six Republic serials re-released as a film on television in 1966. The title of the film was changed to Sombra, the Spider Woman. This version was cut down to 100-minutes in length.[1]

Chapter titles

  1. Deadly Prophecy (20 min)
  2. The Stolen Formula (13min 20s)
  3. Hidden Death (13min 20s)
  4. Peril in the Sky (13min 20s)
  5. The Spider's Lair (13min 20s)
  6. Glass Guillotine (13min 20s)
  7. Wheels of Death (13min 20s)
  8. False Information (13min 20s)
  9. The Spider's Venom (13min 20s) - a re-cap chapter
  10. The Stolen Corpse (13min 20s)
  11. Death Dials a Number (13min 20s)
  12. The Talking Mirror (13min 20s)
  13. A Life for a Life (13min 20s)


See also


  1. Mathis, Jack. Valley of the Cliffhangers Supplement. Jack Mathis Advertising. pp. 3, 10, 100–101. ISBN 0-9632878-1-8.
  2. Cline, William C. "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 245–246. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
Preceded by
Jesse James Rides Again (1947)
Republic Serial
The Black Widow (1947)
Succeeded by
G-Men Never Forget (1948)
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