6.2/10
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32 user 16 critic

The Devil Commands (1941)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 3 February 1941 (USA)
Scientist becomes obsessed with the idea of communicating with his dead wife.

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(screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews), (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Dr. Richard Sayles
Amanda Duff ...
Anne Blair
...
Mrs. Blanche Walters
Cy Schindell ...
Karl (as Ralph Penney)
...
Mrs. Marcy
...
Seth Marcy
...
Sheriff Ed Willis
Shirley Warde ...
Helen Blair
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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 | See all certifications »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of the SON OF SHOCK package of 20 titles released to television in 1958, which followed the original Shock Theater release of 52 features one year earlier. This was also one of the 11 Columbia titles, the other 61 all being Universals. 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

Referenced in The Holiday (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not Bad, But The Book Is Sooooo Much Better
14 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I must confess to a degree of disappointment after having watched "The Devil Commands" the other night, after several years of waiting to do so. The memory of its excellent source novel, William Sloane's "The Edge of Running Water" (1937), is still very much with me from several years ago, you see, and I'm afraid that the film does suffer in comparison. The book has sharply drawn characters, a well-detailed plot (a scientist attempting to communicate with his dead wife), great suspense and a very satisfying windup. The film, unfortunately, has none of these things in much abundance. Still, there ARE some good things to be said for it. Boris Karloff, as usual, is wonderful, as is Anne Revere in her role as his assistant. The effects are more than passable, and, at a mere 65 minutes, there is no unnecessary padding. Indeed, the film can be accused of being not fleshed out enough! Several things aren't explained; even Boris' fate is never clearly shown, unlike his character's amazing finish in the book. This is a story that is truly ripe for a remake, if done faithfully and by a team that respects the source material. Still, I can think of many more fruitless ways to spend an hour than by curling up with "The Devil Commands."


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