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Alfred L. Werker,
Winnie Slade, a young divorcee, buys an old historic house from nutty Professor Billings, who lives there with his daffy housekeeper and bizarre neighbors, in order to convert it into a hotel. She allows them to continue to live on the property - unaware that the Professor continues to experiment unsuccessfully on traveling salesmen, the bodies of whom have filled the cellar. They are joined by a variety of eccentric characters including a quack doctor who doubles as the town's sheriff, Winnie's frenetic ex-husband, an oddball choreographer, a punchdrunk traveling salesman, and a lunatic escapee from the Italian army. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A curious film which weaves satirical comments about World War Two into a modified "Arsenic and Old Lace" theme, together with an implicit weakness of technology and what passes for science. The strongest satire revolves around nutty Professor Nathaniel Billings (Boris Karloff), a mad but seemingly harmless scientist, whose attempt at creating a superman is so close to Hitler's expressed plan for a superman race that the parallel cannot be ignored. The film was produced during a time of military victories for the Axis powers, at a point in World War Two when the Allies were all but powerless to resist. Satire seemed the only sure weapon. As a movie, it's great fun, with a cast much too sophisticated for both the plot and the script. In effect, the acting skill of both Karloff and Peter Lorre (as Dr Lorenz) are the film's salvation. As wacky as the characters are, they seem plausible representations of real folks, which makes one wonder who, indeed, is really in charge of the asylum.
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