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Rowland V. Lee
Dr. Hohner (Karloff), theatre physician at the Vienna Royal Theatre, murders his mistress, the star soprano when his jealousy drives him to the point of mad obsession. Ten years later, another young singer (Foster) reminds Hohner of the late diva, and his old mania kicks in. Hohner wants to prevent her from singing for anyone but him, even if it means silencing her forever. The singer's fiancée (Bey) rushes to save her in the film's climax. Written by
Stephen Cooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Without being told so it is fairly obvious that The Climax was a film made by Universal to get some more use out of the set built for Phantom Of The Opera. I do mean both versions too.
Boris Karloff takes the place of Claude Rains as the man obsessed with a soprano. Unlike the pitiable Rains who went mad at the thought that someone was stealing concerto, Karloff is the house physician who is the paramour of soprano June Vincent. But the deeper he's involved the more jealous he becomes. When she gives him the brush finally he strangles her and hides the body. He's got quite the shrine to her, think of Lenin's tomb.
Ten years after Karloff did the deed young music students Susanna Foster and Turhan Bey audition for Thomas Gomez the head of the opera company. Karloff hears Foster sing and she reminds him so much of Vincent he's determined to halt her career. No one should sing like Vincent or sing any of her material. Karloff embarks on a campaign of psychological intimidation against Foster.
Karloff's menace Foster's soprano are the main reasons to see The Climax. Films like this and Phantom Of The Opera combine the music and horror genre well and remain popular to this day. There's also a nice performance by Gale Sondergaard as Vincent's maid who has been waiting for years to finally get the goods on the good Dr. Karloff.
And the music is swell. English is used instead of the foreign languages that we of the English speaking world enjoy classic opera. I suspect that opera fans would have put down their theater admission to hear Susanna Foster sing the Erie County Phone Directory of 1944.
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