Warren Hull and Iris Meredith
The Spider's Web © Columbia Pictures Corp.
The Spider TM & © Argosy Communications, Inc.
Spider's Web Reviews

History has shown The Spider's Web to be one of the greatest chapterplays ever filmed. But what did contemporary trade publications make of this violent cliffhanger at the time? Serial scholar Ed Hulse poured through bound volumes of industry mags at the Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood and unearthed the following short reviews...

Motion Picture Herald   November 5th, 1938

"Another colossal character, with the descriptive sobriquet of 'the Spider,' is drawn into this 15-episode chapter portrait, to be hung in the gallery of superhuman serial heroes along with the picture portraits of Dick Tracy, the Lone Ranger, Buck Rogers, and Flash Gordon. The enterprising hero of the story from the magazine fables of the same name is combating almost single handedly the devilish machinations of a band of hooded hoodlums under 'the Octopus.' Warren Hull in the triple threat role to the underworld reveals himself as a talented straight actor as well as a capable character player. Iris Meredith is a pretty romantic companion for Hull's escapades. Juveniles will relish each installment of the heroic feats of the Spider, but adults may not unanimously accept the devices by which the hero is rescued from the several death traps."

Variety   January 11, 1939

"Hair-breadther which is easily paced, 'Spider's Web' takes 15 chapters to tell its story of a city and a nation which is nearly brought into the hands of an unscrupulous banker who descends upon the key points of the country with a reign of terrorism. Authors of the piece reach for a high one, which often will be taken with tongue-in-cheek by the teen-agers.

"Present day serials, modeled as they are after comic strips and rough-paper mag stories, usually deal in those futuristic apparatuses of destruction and super-electro activity. In this stuff, from just plain magic on up to near-supernatural, scripters revel for 'Web.'

"Kingpin in the cast is Warren Hull, playing what is unusual even in Hollywood, a triple role. He's the great criminologist, an underworld habitue, and the Spider -- a quick change artist. Has heart palpitation about Iris Meredith, whom Columbia pulled off her hoss opera marathon for this chapterer [sic]. She's mostly in for screams and kidnapping, and the accompanying necessity, rescuing. Less her, the serial would probably break precedent and be a full eight episodes shorter. Camera is true to them, flirting only occasionally with other members of the cast.

"Guy who figured the title should take the bows. It's the best thing about the flicker."

Motion Picture Exhibitor

"The first two episodes reveal a smashing action serial, with more thugs being killed in five reels than in most other complete serials. In addition to the blood, action, it has good production, fast pace, with Warren Hull a very convincing hero. It also has the type of story the kids go for: a gun-fighting crusade against the 'Octopus' (a mad degenerate) using the madman's own methods."