5.7/10
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3 user

The Vicious Circle (1948)

Approved | | Drama | 13 March 1950 (Portugal)
In Hungary, a rich baron discovers that there are extensive oil deposits underneath nearby properties owned by villagers. He manages to convince all the property owners to sell to him, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Fritz Kortner ...
Joseph Schwartz
...
Baron Arady
...
Calomar Balog
...
Miller
...
Presiding Judge
...
Stark
...
Andreas Molnar
Michael Mark ...
Gustav Horney
...
Mrs. Juliana Horney
Nan Boardman ...
Mrs. Tamashy
Shirley Kneeland ...
Clara Tamashy
...
Ethel Mihaly
...
Samuel Schwartz
David Alexander ...
Fisher
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Storyline

In Hungary, a rich baron discovers that there are extensive oil deposits underneath nearby properties owned by villagers. He manages to convince all the property owners to sell to him, except for a few properties owned by Jewish families. Infuriated at their refusal to sell to him, he attempts, with the help of some corrupt local police, to have the men charged with the murder of a local woman, who in reality actually committed suicide. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Drama

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Approved
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13 March 1950 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Shadows of Fire  »

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| (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Modest, but compelling courtroom drama
2 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A man lies dying in a cheap boarding house. His strange life story takes the viewer back several decades to a small town in Hungary. There, a ruthless baron, anxious to purchase land on which there are oil deposits, frames a group of unruly tenants for the murder of a missing teenage girl so that he may acquire their land. The authorities are under his thumb and only an idealistic attorney from Budapest can give the accused men a chance at a fair trial. --- The defense lawyer is superbly played by Conrad Nagel, a polished and much admired actor of films, radio, and television. Though not particularly remembered today, he was one the most popular movie stars of the silent and early talkie era. By the late '40's he was finding few film roles, but his decision to appear in this noirish courtroom drama was no mistake. His strong presence and melodious voice gave the part considerable impact, and his performance helps to make this minor film a memorable sleeper. Of course this is a low-budget affair -- short running time and sparse production values with most of the action taking place in the courtroom. But it does sport a fine cast of familiar character actors including the ubiquitous Lyle Talbot and good old Phil van Zandt. The action, though claustrophobic, is well staged and the dark lighting lends the film an eerie, Kafkaesque mood. The director, W. Lee Wilder, older brother of Billy Wilder and somewhat notorious for cheaply done sci-fi films, taps his Middle European background to give authenticity to this, his finest early effort. --- This should be a must-see for any fan of '40's "B" pictures. (At the time of this writing, a pretty decent-looking 61-minute version of this film, entitled Woman in Brown, is available for viewing at archive.org.)


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