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Mad scientist Waner Oland's character's name, Dr. Boris Karlov, was decided upon before the general public became aware of the name of the actor who played Frankenstein Monster. Karloff went on to become the ultimate mad scientist in many subsequent films. See more »
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Since I don't know when this movie was made one can simply assume the name of the character that Warner "Charlie Chan" Oland plays was chosen simply by chance, but its true he does play Boris Karloff, er... Karlov.
The plot of this movie has Oland getting revenge one of the Russian Royal families for the death of his daughter. It seems that his daughter was in the Royal Ballet and was the lover of one of the princes who sent her away causing her to attempt suicide. Oland finds a piece of the crown jewels, a necklace called the Drums of Jeopardy, in her possession. In her weakened state she runs to warn her lover only to die in his arms moments before her father arrives and attempts to wipe out the family. He's sent to the gulag vowing revenge. Years later, after the family has been displaced by the revolution, they head to America where Oland begins sending drums from the necklace to the family members before killing them.(Legend says, if some one gets one of the separated drums, they will die with in 24 hours)
This is a great movie that is hampered by the fact that it now seems rather static.Its one of the movies from the early days of sound films, when there would be little music and long moments of silence that played fine then, but now seem to slow things down to a crawl. The first half of this film is dynamite and moves like the wind as we go from Russia to New York and out to the country in a breezy 30 or thirty five minutes. There's lots of action and complications. The trouble comes in the second half where the movie is locked in the country house and its surrounding area as the surviving members of the royal family wait for Oland's attack. Its not bad its just too slow compared to the first half.
I give it 7 out of ten over all, the first half scoring 9 and the second a 5, purely because it seems so slow after the first half.
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