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The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Mystery  |  13 November 1959 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 473 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 12 critic

Jonathan Drake, while attending his brother's funeral, is shocked to find the head of the deceased is missing. When his brother's skull shows up later in a locked cabinet, Drake realizes an... See full summary »

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Title: The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jonathan Drake
Valerie French ...
Alison Drake
Grant Richards ...
Police Lt. Jeff Rowan
...
Dr. Emil Zurich
Lumsden Hare ...
Rogers
Frank Gerstle ...
Lee Coulter
Paul Wexler ...
Zutai
Howard Wendell ...
Dr. George Bradford
Paul Cavanagh ...
Kenneth Drake
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Storyline

Jonathan Drake, while attending his brother's funeral, is shocked to find the head of the deceased is missing. When his brother's skull shows up later in a locked cabinet, Drake realizes an ancient curse placed upon his grandfather by a tribe of South American Jivaro Indians is still in effect and that he himself is the probable next victim. That night he is awakened by the approach of an Indian, his lips sewed together with string, and wielding a curare-tipped bamboo knife. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Terrifying Case of SKULL-DUGGERY! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die vier Schädel des Jonathan Drake  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In addition to his credited work as make-up artist, Charles Gemora also designed and sculpted the shrunken heads. See more »

Goofs

When the family and the detective are gathered around the coffin, smoke is seen drifting into the shot behind the right shoulder of the family doctor. Nobody was smoking in the scene. See more »

Connections

Featured in Svengoolie: The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A mystery and curse beyond the natural
22 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I use the term "beyond the natural" rather than supernatural because there are no ghosts, vampires, spirits, or werewolves involved here. Rather there are Henry Daniell (eminently watchable) and an Amazonian Indian (Paul Wexler) with some very interesting makeup and some beyond the natural elements that need not be revealed.

There is a curse upon the Drake family, but it is not brought into action by spells, telepathy, or any action at a distance. The main Drake being threatened is played convincingly by Edouard Franz, with his daughter Valerie French dressing up the screen.

The story is mainly a mystery. Detective Grant Richards somewhat ploddingly unravels the case. He's the epitome of logic but the case leads him to enlarge his concept of what is possible logically if natural laws are, shall we say, extended along with the possible life span.

Shrunken heads, skulls, curare and a family vault all play a part in this tale.

It's a low budget movie and creaks a bit in places. A 5 is too low, 5.5 is better. But ratings are not as important as enjoyability. If you do not mind a film made on sound stages and value an imaginative sci-fi story with a few suspenseful elements, well-acted especially by Daniell and Franz, then you'll like this.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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