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The Terror (1938)

 |  Crime, Mystery  |  May 1938 (UK)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 97 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 4 critic

A mysterious criminal mastermind plots a spectacular gold robbery, then after the robbery is completed he makes sure his gang is caught by the police, keeps the gold and disappears. After ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Wilfrid Lawson ...
Arthur Wontner ...
Linden Travers ...
Henry Oscar ...
Iris Hoey ...
Mrs. Elvery
Stanley Lathbury ...
Lesley Wareing ...
John Turnbull ...
Richard Murdoch ...
Detective Lewis
Edward Lexy ...


A mysterious criminal mastermind plots a spectacular gold robbery, then after the robbery is completed he makes sure his gang is caught by the police, keeps the gold and disappears. After his former accomplices are released from prison, they go searching for their former boss to take their revenge and get their share of the loot. Written by

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Crime | Mystery


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Release Date:

May 1938 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Edgar Wallace's The Terror  »

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1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Witty and self-mocking, wonderfully acted, Sim's film
28 August 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It is the wit and self-mockery of this splendid little minor comedy-thriller that lifts it out of the pack of 30s quota quickies. A very standard Edgar Wallace plot, with a mysterious hidden mastermind, a ghostly monk, a damsel in distress and a houseful of assorted weirdies is turned into a beautifully characterised and choreographed ballet of murder with a nick o' time climax. Another comment complains about the clichés - of course it is clichéd, but that is the point, it is playing with them.

What brings this to life are the splendid performances. Linden Travers as the spooked girl, John Turnbull as ever the solid copper, Arthur Wontner as the tortured father (or 'deddeh', as his daughter calls him), and Iris Hoey as the psychic lady of a 'certain age' are all on good form. Richard 'Stinker' Murdoch in his second proper film catches the eye and steals all his scenes despite only being there to serve a running gag; it is obvious he will become a star. Wilfred Lawson (top-billed and shortly to achieve immortality as Mr Doolittle in Leslie Howard's Pygmalion) serves up several slices of lovely ripe ham.

But the stars of the show are obvious. A brilliant comedy drunk act by Bernard Lee gives a hint of his range, which may not be obvious to those familiar only with his work in the Bond films. But Alistair Sim takes over every film in which he features, and this is no exception. As the master of disguise Soapy Marks, he manages to play the gamut from the driven revenge maniac to the the fluffy comedy vicar. He could make you laugh out loud at the beginning of a scene, and send a shiver up your spine at the end of it.

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