In a Nutshell. Mini reviews of movies old and new. Minimum words. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional trout.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Walking Dead (1936)

A group of well-dressed, behind closed doors villains need a patsy to divert attention from their deeds. Enter John Ellman (Karloff), a man with a criminal record, fresh from prison, keen to put his past behind him and in need of a job.
He references a few horror classics but Michael Curtiz, director of Casablanca (1942), delivers something a lot more sophisticated than the creaky B+W horror movie I was expecting. It owes a significant debt to James Whale, but unlike so many of Whale's imitators it doesn't simply emphasise the crazy, it keeps the lab scene mostly dignified and is all the better for it.
The Ellman character works because of Karloff's ability to effectively play the tragic victim, to generate pathos with just a glance from his unforgettable eyes, sometimes mere seconds after he's chilled you with a steely glare.

3½ mental strappings out of 5

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