By David Hiltbrand
March 18, 1991 12:00 PM

American Movie Classics (Fri., March 15, 8 P.M. ET)

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Shazam! This wonderful cavalcade of clips resurrects Republic, the prolific little studio that spawned such Saturday-matinee superheros as Captain Marvel, Tiger Woman, Crash Corrigan, Zorro and Dick Tracy. Republic did pretty well with features as well, churning out 50 or so a year during its heyday in the late ’30s and ’40s.

Watching this documentary makes it evident that the filmmakers at Republic, working under severe budget and time constraints (some films were shot in as little as six days), indelibly influenced television’s prefabricated storytelling techniques.

Republic owed most of its success to a bunkhouse full of cowboys, including Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Don “Red” Barry, Monte Hale and John Wayne. The Duke made 33 films for the studio, not all of them quickie Westerns. The Quiet Man (see box) was a Republic film.

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