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Dr. Renault's Secret
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Dr. Renault's Secret More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

This Film Had a Cast of Great Veteran Actors!

Author: whpratt1 from United States
6 March 2004

Very much to my surprise, I was able to view this picture from the past, which I had never seen, but all the actors in this picture contributed great talents to the Movie Industry even though they were mostly B Pictures! J.Carrol Naish,(Noel),"The Beast With Five Fingers",'40, did a great job of acting through out the entire picture, he was a great actor and was not appreciated by the Movie Industry. Mr. Naish could play any role given to him and appeared in hundreds of films for many many years. George Zucco(Dr. Robert Renault) was a great supporting actor and always managed to add mystery and horror in his great acting skills over the years in many Horror films. Jack Norton,(Mr. Austin),"Crazy House",'43 was an American Drunk, who always played a DRUNKARD in most of his pictures, always falling down and one time even was a murder! Mike Mazurki(Rogel), the monster looking guy, who always played a gangster in films gave a good supporting role. In real life, Mike earned a college degree in 1930 and was a lot smarter than people ever thought. If you love old time Horror movies that now make you laugh!, watch this film if you can find it on TV, I was able to tape it around 1:30AM on AMC!!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Caution: Mad Scientist Ahead.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
7 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a quickie B movie that has much of 20th-Century Fox's talents hard at work on this story of a mad scientist, George Zucco, who has captured an ape in Java, performed some "nerve graft" surgery on him, and has brought him back to France to live with him and his niece in a château. The nerve grafts don't quite work.

Oh, J. Carrol Naish is usually passive enough and he looks human, if only barely, but he's sensitive about being part simian and he's devoted to Zucco's niece. When he hears insults directed at monkeys, apes, or Madelon, even if they're meant as jokes, he gets hijacked by his amygdala and starts murdering people in the little French village. I mean, his pathetic in his devotion to Madelon and in his shame at his Pongid nature, but he goes too far when he starts throwing bodies out of closed windows and strangling Mike Mazurki. Enough is enough. Before the police and the clean-cut Shepperd Strudwick can nail Naish, he's shot mortally by Mazurki and dies with tears in his eyes.

That reminds me. J. Carrol Naish was born into an Irish family in New York. He's played men of every conceivable ethnicity on screen and, earlier, on radio. He's been an Indian (both American and Asian), an Arab, and mostly an Italian. Every once in a while, Luigi, The Little Immigrant sneaks out in Naish's Tarzan-level speech. Let me think. The requisite police inspector is Arthur Shields, brother of Barry Fitzgerald, a bred-in-the-bone Irishman. That's two Irishmen. And Mike Mazurki is of Ukranian descent. Zucco is Italian-American. Roberts and Strudwick are both WASPS. If there was a French actor in the cast, I missed him or her.

It's not a complicated movie and it's tempo is quick. Events follow one another like the ticking of a clock. The secret isn't a secret for very long. But there are a couple of good scenes. In the village, one of the men who insulted monkeys is a barber. The barber enters his shop during a festival, only to find a sullen Naish sitting in the chair. "I want shave." The barber, having just seen the dead body of the other scurrilous man who insulted monkeys, gulps, and says, "It's a little late for a shave, don't you think, Noel?" "I want shave." Naish is fiercely jealous of Madelon, to whom he is devoted in his apish fashion, and he hates Strudwick for wanting to marry her and take her away to America. At night, when Strudwick is sitting in a chair reading some abstruse scientific material, a conveniently placed sliding panel silently opens in the wall behind him and a dark hand clutching a knife emerges. Something calls Strudwick away just before the knife can plunge into his quivering neck.

A promising beginning, with a truck pulling up in front of a French saloon, with rain and gaiety providing atmosphere. Then it collapses. The studio must have been jealous of all the money being made at Universal Studios with cheap crap like "Frankenstein Meets The Seven Dwarfs" and tried to imitate it. You know, monkey see, monkey do?

No, no, wait, Noel! I didn't mean that as an insult to monkeys. No, please! ARGHHH.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Superior "B" Programmer

Author: dcole-2 from Glendale, CA
5 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Yes, this is a poor man's ISLAND OF LOST SOULS -- it can only afford ONE lost soul. But J. Carrol Naish is so amazing as the Ape-Man and he has such a marvelous supporting cast (including the always-solid George Zucco and Mike Mazurki) that it's absolutely watchable and compelling. Plus director Harry Lachman takes such care in creating each shot -- beautiful shots, every single one -- that it looks far more expensive than it must have been. They play the Man-Beast as more sympathetic and Pitiful than Frightening, which is a very good choice. So this doesn't have Big Scares but it has emotion and tenderness and care and wonderful attention to detail. I liked it quite a bit.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Disappointing, dull and almost unwatchable

Author: slayrrr666 ( from Los Angeles, Ca
26 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Dr. Renault's Secret" is a thoroughly unimpressive yet not completely worthless effort.


Arriving in Paris, Dr. Larry Forbes, (Sheppard Strudwick) is told that he has to wait in town before traveling to see Dr. Renault, (George Zucco) as he has come to marry Madelon, (Lynne Roberts) his niece. Trapped in the hotel for the night, he is fingered as the main suspect for a murder during the night. Going up in the morning with handyman Noel, (J. Carroll Naish) the three are reconciled and meet up with each other. During the night, he is the target of several murder attempts, but none fall through. Determined to continue on, he decides to continue on with his life, only for another repeat attempt on his life. Now knowing the identity of the killer, he tries to stop him before he succeeds.

The Good News: This one has very few good qualities. The film does have a few good chase scenes in here that really get this one interesting. The main one is a particularly long and fun chase that contains a lot right. This one has some really great moments, as it starts off with a great brawl in a laboratory basement that really gets brutal at times, followed by a lengthy and entertaining chase. Starting off with an excellent moment in the bedroom, it continues on into the surrounding woods, out into and completely through a lake and concludes with a simply spectacular confrontation at a windmill. From a nice brawl over the rooftop, to a really brutal kill and some big stunts going on, it has a lot to offer and becomes a lot more entertaining than it really should. This is a lot of fun, and along with the really fun carnival scene, really constitutes the film's good qualities.

The Bad News: There wasn't a whole lot wrong, even though there wasn't a whole lot to it to begin with. The fact is that this is a thoroughly uneventful, dull and really short film. Even though the film is barely an hour long, the film feels much longer due to its inactivity. From the beginning, this one doesn't have a whole lot of action, and saves the few it does have for the very end of the film. Even the few attempts to do so beforehand are really weak and come off as simply dull. The whipping scenes take place mostly as shadows and ruin their brutality significantly, the murder attempts are all broken up through various means that only make them look lucky more than anything, and it all fails badly. The film's dullness is where it really fails, and for being as short as it is, this one becomes a really big flaw that sinks it.

The Final Verdict: There's not a whole lot for this one either way, and in the end doesn't stand out or fail at much of anything. If it sounds interesting, give it a shot, but it won't mean much at all either way.

Today's Rating-PG: Mild Violence

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

No way is this film a 5.

Author: InsideTheCastleWall from North Carolina
13 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dr. Renault's Secret (1942) is a boring science-experiment-gone-wrong sci-fi horror. Dr. Renault, eager for notability in the medical field, turns an ape (man wearing gorilla suit) into an apeman (man wearing bad wig and lump under his top lip), named Noel. Noel becomes Dr. Renault's servant and all goes seemingly well for a while but soon things take a turn as Dr. Renault learns he underestimated Noel's animal instinct and aggression.

Could've made more of it's 58 minute run time but it jumped around in a jumbled fashion making it impossible for the viewer to care.

To sum this film up in a word: lackluster.

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:


Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
13 March 2008

Dr. Renault's Secret (1942)

** (out of 4)

Dull horror film about Dr. Renault (George Zucco) and his little secrets including his mentally challenged assistant (J. Carrol Naish). For some reason this is a rather well known film among horror fans but I can't see why because the big "secret" is easy to see within the first five minutes and the rest of the film is slow and boring. The movie is somewhat hard to find so perhaps that's a reason for its cult following. Zucco and Naish are mildly entertaining but the film goes no where in the end and winds up wasting their talent.

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