The Mark of the Tortoise is not, as is the case with most of the rest of the genre, based on a book by the great Edgar Wallace (or his son Bryan) and instead takes its plot from a novel by crime writer James Hadley Chase. Alfred Vohrer once again takes the director's reigns but unfortunately the end result is a film that is simply not as good as many other genre offerings. The main thing I like about this genre is the style and the wayward/ridiculous plot occurrences; and this one is lacking in both areas, which leaves it feeling rather plain and bland. The plot focuses on a young man whose uncle is a rich man. The uncle has fallen under the threat of blackmail and the nephew endeavours to get to the bottom of it. It turns out the gang of blackmailers is being lead by a crippled mastermind who, due to loss of the use of his legs, finds his only pleasure in life is derived from extorting money from rich people.
One benefit of the film being fairly simple is that it's easy to follow and this allows the director to focus more on the characters and their situations rather than getting wrapped up in various plot points. It's the antagonists that are most interesting; with the crippled mastermind in particular being the most fleshed out character, and he gets support from his scarred assistant and his beautiful mistress who may or may not be entirely loyal to him. The film really lacks in suspense and mostly just relies on its plot to deliver the thrills and this doesn't always happen. The film rather lacks atmosphere and a lot of it takes place in the daytime too, which doesn't really help a lot. It does at least feature the crisp black and white picture that is seen in most of the early Krimi films. There's one moment of suspense towards the end in which some characters are trapped inside a room and that leads into the ending which is not entirely typical or expected; but isn't all that good either. This is a little different from most Krimi films, but I wouldn't list it among the best of the genre.
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