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In the end of the Nineteenth Century, the aristocrat Edward Markham is disfigured by sorcery in Africa by the natives. His brother Julian Markham brings him back to the Markham Manor in England and keeps him prisoner in the attic. The mad Edward asks his lawyer Trench and his partner to bring the African sorcerer N'Galo in secret to heal him but Julian does not allow any contact with his brother. Trench and N'Galo simulate the death of Edward to remove him from the attic in a coffin. However, body snatchers bring his body to the unscrupulous Dr. Newhartt for his research. Edward offers a large amount to Dr. Newhartt to stay hidden in his house and wears a crimson hood to hide his face. When Edward goes to the town, his mask brings problem to him and he begins a series of murders. When he finally meets N'Galo, he finds why the natives have deformed him and he seeks revenge. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
No Poe, But Robert Louis Stevenson Gets a Good Innings Instead!
Despite triumphant placarding in the movie's posters, Edgar Allan Poe never wrote a story called "The Oblong Box". Poe did write a quasi-essay titled "The Premature Burial", which no doubt heavily influenced "Murder by the Clock" (1931), but has precious little to do with "The Oblong Box". Its real inspiration comes from Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" via Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Body Snatcher". I'm gladly that neither of these fine writers were associated with this "ridiculous" (to quote Christopher Lee) movie. Just about all the characters are presented as a bunch of morons who not only act stupidly but totally inconsistently. Oddly, the actors all play their roles straight, even when entertaining the craziest of notions. As if this were not bad enough, the plot wanders all over the place. Potentially interesting threads are introduced, only to be quickly dropped in favor of some new, irrelevant sidelight. Director Gordon Hessler spends so much time setting up these extra scenes (like the tavern episode) that we grow weary of the whole charade long before the merciful end titles. [
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