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The Devil Commands (1941)

6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 483 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 13 critic

Scientist becomes obsessed with the idea of communicating with his dead wife.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Devil Commands (1941)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dr. Julian Blair
Richard Fiske ...
Dr. Richard Sayles
Amanda Duff ...
Anne Blair
...
Mrs. Blanche Walters
Cy Schindell ...
Karl (as Ralph Penney)
...
Mrs. Marcy
Walter Baldwin ...
Seth Marcy
Kenneth MacDonald ...
Sheriff Ed Willis
Shirley Warde ...
Helen Blair
Edit

Storyline

Dr. Julian Blair is engaged in unconventional research on human brain waves when his wife is tragically killed in a freak auto accident. The grief-stricken scientist becomes obsessed with redirecting his work into making contact with the dead and is not deterred by dire warnings from his daughter, his research assistant, or his colleagues that he is delving into forbidden areas of knowledge. He moves his laboratory to an isolated New England mansion where he continues to try to reach out to his dead wife. He is aided by his mentally-challenged servant Karl and abetted by the obsessive Mrs. Walters, a phony medium, who seems to exert a sinister influence over him. When their overly curious housekeeper discovers the truth about their experiments, her death brings the local sheriff in to investigate. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

KARLOFF TURNS KILLER IN A HORROR-CRAMMED THRILLER! (original 11x14 title card) See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 February 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil Said No  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Completed December 1940, released February 3, 1941. See more »

Goofs

Dr. Julian tells Mrs. Walters she had 10,000 volts pass through her body. Volts do not flow or pass, amps do. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Julian Blair: Anne dear, your mother is not dead, not really. She's come back to me!
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Mad Doctors (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Same old song, different studio
19 September 2007 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In the 1930s, Boris Karloff was initially with a relatively important studio (Universal) and was enjoying a lot of success. Later, he did some dandy films for Warner Brothers, but he also made some grade-Z films for poverty row studio, Monogram. All these films were fun to watch and often a bit silly, but the Monogram ones were known for their very low production values and silly plots. After THE APE (1940), Karloff was thrilled to get out of his contract with Monogram and ready to go on to better things. It SHOULD have been that way when he made THE DEVIL COMMANDS for Columbia. Sure, like Universal in the 1930s, Columbia was not the biggest of studios but it did have decent budgets and production values and I expected this to be a much better style of film than THE APE....but unfortunately, it seemed a lot like the exact same old style of film and nothing more. Like THE APE and the rather bland Mr. Wong films for Monogram, this one was nothing special.

It stars Karloff as a kindly scientist with the best of intentions that ultimately becomes a mad man--using science to create abominations. Considering how often he did this, the whole thing seems very, very derivative and stale. We've seen this all before and there is nothing that makes this film stand out from many others just like it. Also, the narration and the epilogue just seem heavy-handed and unnecessary.

Is it fun and worth a look (particularly to lovers of B-horror films), yes. But it could have been so much better.


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