A physician on death row for a mercy killing is allowed to experiment on a serum using a criminals' blood, but secretly tests it on himself. He gets a pardon, but finds out he's become a Jekyll-&-Hyde.
In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »
Rowland V. Lee
Noble-born cad Denis (Stapley) has been tricked into a forced stay at the eerie manor of the Sire de Maletroit (Laughton), an evil madman who can't get over the death of his beloved, twenty... See full summary »
Prophecy has it that younger twin Anton will kill brother Gregor in the castle's Black Room. Anton returns to the castle after a 10 year hiatus. Gregor, a Baron, has many attempts on his life as his subjects detest his tyranny. However, good natured Anton earns the subjects' respect, and the admiration of Col.Hassel, uncle of the beautiful Thea. When Gregor kills young servant Mashka, his subjects storm the castle to remove him. Devious Gregor renounces his title in favour of brother Anton to appease them. He then kills Anton to assume his identity and the Baronship again. He is free to pursue Thea with Col.Hassel's blessing. When Col.Hassel discovers Gregor's impersonation, he also meets death. With Thea's true love, Lt. Lussan, wrongfully convicted of Hassel's murder, it appears nothing can stop evil Gregor from ambushing her into marriage. But what of that prophecy?Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Karloff's performance was voted runner-up to the best performance for the month of August, 1935 by the Screen Actors' Guild. Henry Fonda in "The Farmer Takes a Wife" and Will Rogers in "Steamboat 'Round the Bend" tied for the top award. See more »
The walls of the "stone" pit shaft give way against the weight of bodies. See more »
This film is competently directed and photographed, yet it is not noteworthy from either point of view. The story, concerning human compassion versus cruelty, and the cold, merciless workings of fate, is clever and interesting, all the more so since it does not linger too long and overstay its welcome...this film clocks in at 1 hour and change.
By Columbia Pictures standards, this film is almost opulent, having several sets and a number of outdoor shots, and having good actors, costumes, technicians and atmosphere all around. But, since it is a Columbia Picture, central Europe looks amazingly like Southern California. Still, it proves that Universal did not have a monopoly on horror in the 1930's.
This is not a supernatural film, except perhaps in the fact that it deals with the subjects of prophecy and fate...it is instead a psychological horror film and so it helps to have the right set of expectations going in. In a way, this film is a kind of precursor to the ambiguous metaphysics and psychological themes of the 1940's Val Lewton horror/noir classics.
What makes this film stand out is Karloff's brilliant performance in the double role of twin brothers, one evil and one good. Karloff is completely convincing in both parts, and it is a genuine pleasure to watch him. It is also striking that even without monster make-up Karloff can scare the pants off you, when he chooses.
Modern horror fans are liable to have trouble accessing this film, but it is recommended to fans of classic horror and classic film in general.
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