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Juggernaut (1936)

Approved | | Mystery | 30 April 1937 (USA)
An evil doctor and the greedy wife of a rich man plot to poison him so they can get their hands on his money.

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(novel), (adapted for the screen by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Joan Wyndham ...
Eve Rowe
Arthur Margetson ...
Mona Goya ...
Yvonne Clifford
...
Capt. Arthur Halliday (as Antony Ireland)
...
Sir Charles Clifford (as Morton Setten)
Nina Boucicault ...
Mary Clifford (as Mina Boucicault)
Gibb McLaughlin ...
Jacques
J.H. Roberts ...
Chalmers (as H.H. Roberts)
Victor Rietti ...
Doctor Bousquet (as V. Rietti)
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Storyline

Dr. Victor Sartorius, a dedicated but dying medical researcher working in Morocco, becomes frustrated when his funding is cut off and his experiments ended. He is approached by Lady Yvonne Clifford, the young and beautiful wife of wealthy but aging aristocrat Sir Charles Clifford. She has been carrying on an affair with a gold-digging army captain and offers Sartorius the 20,000 pounds he needs to continue his research if he will become her husband's personal physician and covertly murder him. When Sir Charles' son Roger enters the picture, it is clear that he is marked for death too. Only Sartorius' altruistic nurse Joan stands in the way. Written by duke1029@aol.com

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Genres:

Mystery

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Approved | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

30 April 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Demon Doctor  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Boris Karloff's third feature in Britain, filmed April 25-June 6 1936, quickly following "The Man Who Changed His Mind." He returned to Hollywood to shoot "Charlie Chan at the Opera." See more »

Quotes

Dr. Victor Sartorius: [after hiring Joan Wyndham as his nurse] My man will show you out. He's listening at the door.
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User Reviews

Better than I expected it to be
21 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In JUGGERNAUT, Boris Karloff plays a furious medical specialist who has received a major setback in his research into human paralysis. His desperation for renewed funding- and a hyper-inflated ego- lead him into a devil's agreement with the wife of a millionaire cotton industrialist, who is seeking a way to murder her husband so that she can go on with her high living affair with a jigolo. Running a timely interference are the family members of the rich patriarch, loyal personal servants and an observant and resourceful nurse portrayed by Joan Wyndham. Definitely the stuff of melodrama, and not a particularly unusual role in Karloff's career.

What's interesting about this piece is the pacing- which I suspect seemed very slow to American audiences, even at the time of its release (1936), if contemporary reviews found in books on Karloff are any indicator. Though some of it is indeed histrionic in content, there are only a few spots in the work where "over the top" acting disrupt its continuity. As a whole, of course, it's junk, but it's the junk of guilty pleasure. it's fascinating to watch Karloff breathe life into yet another tripped-up scientist characterization. His Dr. Sartorious is bitter, high strung, barely a note below fury at all moments, far from the characterizations of educated fruitcake benevolence that the actor is so often remembered for.

As for his "slouching" noted by other reviewers, I suspect it had less to do with conscious characterization then with the back ailment and arthritically bowed legs that plagued Karloff most of his life, which were flaring up before the man was in his 50s. You can view almost any of his films and see evidence of the ailment early on.

I think JUGGERNAUT is actually a better film then it's often reviewed as. It's not Karloff at the top of his form, but it's Karloff attempting to bring new flavor to what for many other actors would have long become a shop-worn characterization, and for that reason, well worth the hour or so it takes to take it in.


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