In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.
Jim Knight is the captain of a ship trading in the South Seas. He runs into trouble when he makes port at an island where crooks Malone and Ross hold the natives under their cruel ... See full summary »
This movie is a mess but a fairly interesting one
Somehow Peter Lorre wanted to make a comeback in post war Germany with this movie. He plays the principal role in Der Verlorene, a little guy stumbling through the Nazi years in Germany and ending up just wanting to put an end to his life (apparently based on a true story). He also directed and participated in the screen writing. And that was probably too much. The movie is ill paced and takes several unexpected turns which break down the narrative rhythm. The movie also seems to shift in an uneasy way into different genres. It starts out as a solid firm noir with a flashback, a love story, betrayal and a murder. Then Lorre reverts to his role in Fritz Lang's M and becomes a psychotic woman hater and mass murderer. Then, back in the noir mode, he stumbles inadvertently into the preparation for the assassination of Hitler (a real event that took place in 1944) and, believe it or not, the movie definitely becomes a kind of a black comedy. The main character ends up a tragic clown who can not be taken seriously (and I am pretty sure it was not meant that way). Some plot details are plainly ludicrous and do not work. An example: Lorre's character takes to strangling women who try to "make him hot". They are decidedly bigger and larger than he is and all look as if they would put up fierce resistance against a strangling Lorre, probably easily overpowering him. But they react like frightened lambs I just had to laugh at that, or was I missing a crucial symbolic twist here? However, other aspects of the movie are interesting. The theme of betrayal and double cross are cleverly presented as the essence of every day life in Nazi Germany. The set design and the scenes shot on location somewhere in Germany create an oppressive atmosphere with darkened parlours, basement laboratories, bleak apartments and landscapes of ruins and emergency shelters. Actually, all the elements that make a good movie are there and in itself well presented: some good dialogue, the observation, the surprise moments, the suspense and even a car chase. There are some very good female parts. The game of flirting and sexual innuendo is presented in a frankness that was pretty drastic for the period, I guess. But these elements stand by themselves and unfortunately don't come together to form a good movie. Robert Siodmak's thematically related movie Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam was a much more convincing comeback with a film that transports American noir mode to Nazi Germany.
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