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Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 12 February 1962 (Denmark)
Trailer
3:37 | Trailer

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A search for a winning lottery ticket in his dead father's grave causes Sardonicus' face to freeze in a horrible grimace, until he forces a doctor to treat his affliction--with even more ... See full summary »

Director:

William Castle

Writers:

Ray Russell (screenplay), Ray Russell (novel)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Ronald Lewis ... Sir Robert Cargrave
Audrey Dalton ... Baroness Maude Sardonicus
Guy Rolfe ... Baron Sardonicus / Marek Toleslawski
Oskar Homolka ... Krull (as Oscar Homolka)
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Henryk Toleslawski
Erika Peters ... Elenka Toleslawski
Lorna Hanson Lorna Hanson ... Anna
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Storyline

A search for a winning lottery ticket in his dead father's grave causes Sardonicus' face to freeze in a horrible grimace, until he forces a doctor to treat his affliction--with even more grotesque results! The audience gets an opportunity to vote--via the "Punishment Poll"--for the penalty Sardonicus must pay for his deeds... Written by M.E. Nelson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A man of evil... with a face that could stop a heart! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 February 1962 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Der unheimliche Mr. Sardonicus See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Sir Robert first arrives at Castle Sardonicus, the castle is in view in the background. The lighted windows make the castle look like a skull. See more »

Goofs

Sir Robert attempts to shave when he is already clean-shaven to begin with. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Krull: Master, I'm very sorry, but I missed him. The train had already left.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was initially refused a UK cinema certificate by the BBFC, and only passed 4 months later after considerable pre-cuts which included shots of Sardonicus' face and the entire leech torture of Anna. The 1996 Encore VHS release was complete and uncut. See more »

Connections

Featured in Clive Barker: Raising Hell (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Foggy, Foggy Dew
(English folk song)
Sung by Ronald Lewis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Something else money can't buy you; a nice face!
20 April 2006 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

William Castle had cemented his reputation as a director of fun, gimmicky horror films by 1961, but for this one he's (almost!) dropped the fun feel and replaced it with a more serious tone; and in doing so has gone and created his best film! The film opens with an introduction from the director (I said he'd ALMOST dropped the fun feel), and from there we move onto a macabre tale of greed, curses, grave robbing and disfigurement. Based on a novella by Ray Russell, the film takes obvious influence from George Franju's masterpiece 'Eyes without a Face' in that it follows the horrifying idea of someone having their face scarred beyond belief. The tale puts greed at its centre, and it is that deadly sin which is to blame for the title character's affliction. We follow a prominent English doctor who is called to Europe on the request of his ex-lover. While there, he meets the cruel and sinister Baron Sardonicus; a man who is forced to wear a mask as his face is too hideous to look at. It's not long thereafter that we learn the reason for this facial deformity, as the man retells the tale of how he robbed his father's grave for a winning lottery ticket.

William Castle may not be the greatest director of all time, but here he creates just the right tone for the story to flourish in. The Gothic locations, sinister score and foreboding mood combine to ensure that the story is both gripping and as hideous as its central protagonist. This is helped along by the fact that the central characters are well fleshed out, and all of their motives make sense. Mr Sardonicus himself verges on comic book villainy at times, and as the plot is fairly ludicrous, this isn't always the easiest film to swallow. However, Castle ensures that the action always makes sense, and it has to be said that the tale has been given as good handling as it could afford. Castle's love for showboating shows through towards the end, however, when he tries one of his 'interactive cinema' tricks regarding the fate of Mr Sardonicus. It is these sort of things that make William Castle films what they are, and it fits films like The Tingler; but here Castle's segment feels out of place, given that the tone of the movie is largely serious. However, it's not enough to spoil what is a great Gothic horror story and overall I highly recommend this film to horror fanatics!


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