This lavish, impudent, adult fairy tale takes the viewer from 18th-century Braunschweig to St. Petersburg, Constantinople, Venice, and then to the moon using ingenious special effects, stunning location shooting.
Josef von Báky
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Dr. Bill Crawford, on a hunting trip to Canada, is attacked by a bear and his guide, Joe Easter, saves his life and takes the badly-mauled Crawford to his cabin home, where he lives with ... See full summary »
Haines plays the role of a festive British nobleman, for whom a marriage has been arranged by his relatives. He goes to a European Summer resort and poses as a gigolo to meet the girl ... See full summary »
C. Aubrey Smith
Bank clerk William Marble is desperate for money to pay his family's bills. When his wealthy nephew visits, Marble asks him for a loan, but the young man refuses. Marble decides to kill his nephew. It is a twisted path to justice after Marble is transformed by the crime he committed and the wealth he gains.Written by
If you like British mysteries from the 20s and 30s, this film will be right up your alley. It has all the twists and turns of the plays and books from that period.
Charles Laughton plays Mr. Marble, a low-level bank employee who resorts to crime in order to get the cash he needs to play the market. He's the kind of lower-middle-class guy who, when he finally gets some cash, fills his tawdry parlor with Victorian gewgaws and paintings like "September Morn" because he thinks it shows "class." (His daughter, who grows into a snob once the money starts flowing, mocks him for his cheap vulgarity.)
He makes the mistake of falling into the clutches of a cheap French floozy who complicates life even further. The clever script keeps taking unexpected turns until the closing curtain.
For me, the problem with the film wasn't that it was dated. The problem is Charles Laughton. I have never understood his appeal. His face is often void of any expression except a sort of sheep-like stupidity (same as when he played Javert in LES MIS), and he overacts consistently, like villains in silent movie potboilers. The ending of the film was spoiled for me by the goofy shot of him laughing maniacally while everything around him fades.
But...if you can enjoy a good plot even when the leading man goes way over the top, this is a pleasant murder mystery from a long-lost age.
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