Tuesday, 30 March 2010

CONDEMNED TO LIVE (1935)


Great Poster, shame about the film. Director Frank Strayer was another inhabitant of Poverty Row with a career that is littered with such titles as MURDER AT MIDNIGHT, THE MONSTER WALKS and GORILLA SHIP. His best known and possibly his best film is probably the 1933 THE VAMPIRE BAT with Fay Wray, Lionel Atwill, Dwight Frye and Melvyn Douglas. CONDEMNED TO LIVE somewhat resembles that film in its plot and setting but whereas VAMPIRE BAT moved at a fare lick CONDEMNED is talky in the extreme. In fact they never seem to stop talking and these leaves little time for any action and only a few rather pathetic horror scenes. Let;s face it Ralph Morgan is no substitute for Lionel Atwill and even Mischa Auer can't make up for the absence of Dwight Frye. It's one of those films I'm glad to have finally caught up with but don't want to see again. Rating **
Viewed at The Internet Archives

4 comments:

Autumnforest said...

I don't think I've ever seen a horror movie made before the 40s that I liked, but this one does have a very cool poster! Reminds me of DVDs. Sometimes, I rent a DVD just for the cover picture even though the write-up on the back sounds lame. I should know better, but the visual can make you believe the director had an eye for how to film it...

Weaverman said...

An interesting point. Packaging is very important to some people. It depends on a person's criteria for viewing a film. I can't think of any DVD that I've ever rented because of the packaging or poster.
Usually I know a fair bit about the films I watch before viewing and go by director, cast, plot or historical importance. Of course, I still see quite a few duds. When it comes to horror film from any period prior to 1960 I want to see it. I'd be very interested in seeing your top 10 films of all time.

Cerpts said...

CONDEMNED TO LIVE is one of the Frank Strayer's I haven't yet seen. Like you, I think Morgan is a ho-hum leading man for the picture which has prevented me from going out of my way to see the film. Is this one on Internet Archive?

Autumnforest's comment about packaging is interesting. While I never make a choice to see a movie on the grounds of its packaging, I HAVE actually bought music cds of which I was completely ignorant totally on the strength of the cover art. And odd as it may sound, the times I've done this with music cds, I've never once been disappointed. I don't think the same will work for DVDs though LOL.

Weaverman said...

Yep, the film is at Internet Archive. As a devotee of horror movies with a particular urge to see old b/w horrors I find Autumnforest's comment about not enjoying any horror films made before the 40's staggering. Horses for courses of course and we all have different criteria for what we enjoy...but has she seen BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN?