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Lon Chaney Jr.,
J. Edward Bromberg
Stage mentalist Gregor the Great becomes enraged when a drunken audience member belittles his act. When the man dies suddenly, Gregor convinces himself that his hypnotic powers are to blame. Guilt-ridden, he retires from performing to Valerie Monet's wax museum. He becomes increasingly stressed when he is pursued romantically by Valerie, her niece, and his former stage assistant, Maura Daniel. When Valerie mysteriously disappears, it is apparent that sinister forces are at work in the museum. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"The Frozen Ghost" might just be the quintessential wacky 1940s B-movie mystery, packed with enough plot to fill any six films, and uncertain of which of those six films it really wants to be. While it may not be the most serious of the "Inner Sanctum" series of low-low-budget thrillers made by Unversal between 1943 and 1945, it is likely the most entertaining. Part murder mystery, part wax museum horror film, part romance, "The Frozen Ghost" gallops along at a nonsensical pace and features a rich group of actors, all of whom are peculiarly cast. Leading the pack is Lon Chaney, who tried to escape the heavy Wolf Man and Mummy makeup with this series, and who does a pretty good job as a stage hypnotist tormented by the thought that he might have killed someone during his act. This might be Chaney's best stab at a leading man role, though it is undermined by the fact that every single female character in the film, from age 16 to 40, falls madly in love with him at sight, much in the way Roger Moore's version of James Bond was a walking aphrodisiac. While Chaney was a passable leading man, ascribing this rampant sex appeal to him is as fantastical as brain transplants. Douglas Dumbrille, a smooth British actor given to silky villains, plays the tough American detective, and Martin Kosleck, usually cast as a cold as ice Nazi, here appears as a road-company Peter Lorre lunatic. And Milburn Stone -- "Doc" on "Gunsmoke" -- shows up as Chaney's harried agent. But don't even worry about the caprices of the casting or plotting. Just sit back, try to keep up with it, and enjoy the kind of anything-goes film-making that doesn't exist anymore.
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