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A good cast and amusing dialogue are wasted in leaden junk
Ignore the way this old clunker is marketed on DVD and disregard the American title, "Chamber of Horrors." There's nothing supernatural here and there are no Poe-like thrills. The "horrors" are a collection of old torture devices owned by the main villain, and they don't get much play. The English title gives you a better sense of the movie. You see, there's a door with seven locks which requires seven different keys. An heiress possesses the seventh key, and several unsavory characters will stop at nothing to get it from her.
The trappings of this mystery "thriller" are familiar nowadays mainly from comedies, parodies and cartoons. I especially liked that portrait with the real eyes peering out. I've seen that countless times on "Scooby Doo." Then there's the spooky tomb, secret panels in the wall, sinister servants and so on. Leslie Banks (probably best known for the original "The Man Who Knew Too Much") plays a flamboyant villain, sophisticated yet evil, complete with goatee, cape, a foreign accent of some kind and a pet monkey. This is one of the rare times I've seen this stuff played straight more or less.
Fortunately, this movie is no more self-serious than "The Lady Vanishes." But don't expect any Hitchcockian suspense here. We have an excellent cast, headed by the beautiful Lilli Palmer and the amusing Banks. Lots of droll dialogue. ("I love frolicking in morgues.") Lots of the aforementioned mystery trappings. But no suspense. The writers haven't the slightest idea how to grab our interest, much less keep it. The director betrays absolutely no flair for this kind of thing. It's all a leaden bore. Go watch "Scooby Doo."
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