The last of the three films that Boris Karloff made in England during the 1930's, JUGGERNAUT is, despite having Boris as the evil Dr. Sartorius, is not really a mad doctor film in that it doesn't venture into the world of science fiction. It starts rather slowly with Karloff denied funds for his research (when would they learn?) and being forced to take a job with a rich patron in the south of France. Plots are soon hatched and the fun starts. Karloff's performance is totally unsympathetic and bad tempered (and all the better for it) and completely in tune with the mounting hysteria that pervades the film. The scene where the rich man's unfaithful wife learns that she is not going to inherit his fortune is a real gem with actress Mona Goya going screamingly over the top. The film may creak but once it gets going it is great fun if you're in the right mood. The film is available on You Tube.
018 THE DEVIL COMMANDS (1941) Directed by Edward Dmytryk. ***
Edward Dmytryk was an interesting but uneven director but this early effort is easily the best of Columbia's mad doctor series. Karloff and Ann Revere are excellent as the couple trying to contact the dead through scientific methods. The film is blessed with an above average and literate script by Robert H. Andrews (who had earlier scripted THE WALKING DEAD and BEFORE I HANG which had both starred Karloff) based on a novel by. All technical credits are excellent with the photography being outstanding.
|The Devil Commands|