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Release Date:
May 1936 (UK) See more »
A crazed killer known as "The Spinebreaker" is terrorizing London with a series of grisly murders. The police seem powerless to stop him. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
A middling Tod Slaughter vehicle See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order)
Tod Slaughter ... Stephen Hawke
Marjorie Taylor ... Julia Hawke
D.J. Williams ... Joshua Trimble
Eric Portman ... Matthew Trimble
Graham Soutten ... Nathaniel (as Ben Soutten)
Gerald Barry ... Miles Archer
George M. Slater ... Lord Brickhaven
Charles Penrose ... Sir Franklin
Norman Pierce ... Landlord
Flotsam and Jetsam ... Themselves
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cecil Bevan ... Small Boys' Father (uncredited)
Annie Esmond ... Small Boys' Nanny (uncredited)
Harry Terry ... 1st Prisoner In Cell (uncredited)
Ben Williams ... Prison Warder (uncredited)

Directed by
George King 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jack Celestin 
Frederick Hayward  screenplay
H.F. Maltby 
Tod Slaughter  opening (uncredited)
Paul White 

Produced by
George King .... producer
Original Music by
Colin Wark 
Cinematography by
Ronald Neame 
Film Editing by
John Seabourne Sr. 
Art Direction by
Philip Bawcombe 
Production Management
Harold Richmond .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ronald Kinnoch .... assistant director
Michael Worth .... assistant director
Sound Department
John K. Byers .... sound recordist
Other crew
Olga Brook .... continuity

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

USA:69 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Featured in Doom Asylum (1987)See more »
An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op. 314See more »


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A middling Tod Slaughter vehicle, 5 March 2014
Author: Red-Barracuda from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

In Victorian England there lives a kindly moneylender called Stephen Hawke. But underneath his public mask he is an underhand cad. Aided by his hunchback henchmen, he is also the serial killer known as The Spine Breaker. He is so evil he even begins the movie by murdering a child!

This film unusually opens at a BBC radio station, where we are introduced to lead actor Tod Slaughter. We also get a song and, of all things, a comedy butcher act. Slaughter pitches up and speaks briefly about the upcoming movie. I am guessing that this extra material was quite typical of its day where we had cinematic programmes that ran for hours encompassing all manner of things beyond the main feature, such as newsreels, cartoons, etc. Whatever the case, it's a strange way to open the movie now but does offer up a time capsule to an earlier era which is quite interesting.

The film itself is one of several British Victorian melodramas directed by George King, starring Slaughter. I have a soft spot for these movies as their lurid plot-lines and period detail make them more interesting than most B-movies from the time. And, most of all, they have the charismatic Slaughter as the villain in the main role. He really is a fun actor to watch and no one chews up the scenery quite like him it has to be said. This one follows a similar template to all the rest of these films where he is a pillar of the community who secretly is a ghastly criminal. While this one is basically the same, I don't think it is among his best. The plot-line is a little too uncoordinated and doesn't make use of Slaughter as well as it could. Nevertheless, it's one that should still appeal to most of his fans and I still liked it.

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