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Milton Moses Ginsberg
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I saw this film as The Oval Portrait, late last night on the Paranormal Channel, a low down and little known channel on Sky that sporadically shows worthwhile old b movies. This film is certainly not the best that I have seen there but it was a reasonably good watch in a weird sort of way. The plot sees a woman becoming entranced and then possessed by a spirit lurking in a painting, the result of a Civil War tragedy from the recent past. The film begins in unsubtle fashion with whispered spirit voices and projected spirits, as well as some firmly low rent acting, before embarking on a lengthy flashback to explain the story. Unfortunately this goes on for at least a third of the films total run time and holds little that is surprising or even too exciting and so seems a wee bit superfluous. Eventually the film gets back to the present for a tacky supernatural showdown, before a left field, happily twisted finale just when it seems the film is about to end. The runtime given by IMDb for this film is erroneous, though it claims 68 minutes I would say its closer to 88. This turned out well for the film, for just when I thought things were going to end and it was going to be a forgettable mediocre timewaster the film corkscrews into bizarro Gothic territory with sufficient mad verve to make the whole affair a lot more worthwhile. I really didn't see the end coming, which was handy and put something of a smile on my face. The settings and location are quite nice to look at and the film moves at a decent enough speed, though the direction by Rogelio Gonzalez is perfunctory at best and the screenplay by Enrique Torres Tudela is hardly distinguished. Still, at the end I was relatively pleased to have watched this film, which seems to be very little known. In all, though a low rent and clunky affair and not one that is likely to raise scares, there are some bright spots, a cool finale and an overall feel of mild watchability and entertainment that make this slightly worth a look for obscurity fans.
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