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Franz Josef Gottlieb
After hearing some nice reviews about this film I finally tracked it down and settled in to watch it.It starts of promisingly enough.Human heads are being dumped off all over London.
We're dumped right in the thick of things after the opening credits.In exposition we learn that there have been a dozen decapitations recently.(When that kind of back ground is delivered in the first 5 minutes you know the script is in trouble).Since a Special Branch officer was killed in this manner another is assigned to investigate the murders.
We have a movie within a movie scenario which is quite boring.In fact, the hour after the opening credits is rather tedious. As usual in these Edgar Wallace based films we have several red herrings.Most of them wind up with a haircut at the neck level. The killer's identity really comes as no surprise.
Granted the film picks up in the last half hour with a frantic ending.But the script is slooowww. The cast rises above the material. The direction is competent at best. Some film critics claim that this film influenced Italian directors like Bava & Argento.Maybe it influenced them on what not to do as this is an average film at best.
This was the first in the German series of films based on the works of Edgar & Bryan Wallace. Perhaps the source material was weak or the screenplay was just bungled.Give it a 4 and a half.
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