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A number of swamp land men have died by strangulation and the inhabitants believe that an innocent man they hanged is seeking revenge on all of the male descendants of those responsible for his death. Maria, granddaughter of the guilty ferryman, decides to operate the ferry service. Chris Sanders, a son of one of the men who did the hanging, and Maria fall in love. The "strangler" seizes Chris and Maria offers her life if Chris is spared. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
One of the very, very small number of films produced by PRC that are critically regarded as achieving something approaching B-movie status. Its status was enhanced by it's inclusion in William K. Everson's "Classics of the Horror Film" (1974) in which he praised German director Frank Wisbar's work on the film. See more »
Frank Wisbar is one of the more overlooked directors who came to Hollywood from Nazi Germany. He worked at the Poverty Row studio PRC and went back to Germany after the war. At PRC he made such curiosities as DEVIL BAT'S DAUGHTER and this little item, which actually remakes his own 1936 German film.
It's confined almost entirely to a foggy swamp (with some indoor scenes). The theatrical, atmospheric first act includes a striking scene of three old women standing like statues on the ferry, intoning their dire warnings as it goes back and forth, guided by the ferryman who is responsible for dooming the village. Wisbar evokes Greek mythology (Charon, who ferries people across the Styx; the Three Fates). The camera pans back and forth with the ferry of old people, underlining the stagnation, the fact that no one is going anywhere.
When the young heroine comes into the picture, she seems a breath of fresh air. But with her independent attitude in assuming the job of ferryman (inherited from her dad), she doesn't seem to realize that she too is going nowhere and may be doomed. Another breath of fresh air is the fact that her heroic young fiancee (Blake Edwards) can do nothing to rescue her, but on the contrary she must save him and the rest of the village from "the sins of the fathers." When you place this fable in its original context of Weimar cinema (its preoccupation with sins of authority figures and the previous generation) and the new threat of Hitler, you can see where Wisbar is coming from.
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