Thursday, October 14, 2021

German Lobby Card Set for DER MANN MIT DEM GLASAUGE/THE MAN WITH THE GLASS EYE (1968)

 I also brought home this set of lobby cards for Der Mann mit dem Glausauge/The Man With the Glass Eye (1968) from my recent trip back to Germany.

This Krimi is the 14th and last of the Rialto Edgar Wallace productions directed by Alfred Vohrer,

Looking at those photos I am reminded that I had only ever seen this movie once and can't remember much of it.

Looks to me it is now time for a rewatch...

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer

The Man With the Glass Eye, lobby cards, Rialto, Edgar Wallace, Alfred Vohrer


Monday, October 4, 2021

German Lobby Card Set for DIE BLAUE HAND/CREATURE WITH THE BLUE HAND (1967)

 Just got back from a trip to visit my family in Germany and amongst the stuff I brought back was this German set of lobby cards for Die blaue Hand/Creature with the Blue Hand (1967).

It's definitely not in the best of conditions - in actual fact the scans make them look better than they truly are! - but can't say I care too much. They were fairly cheap and I am just happy I have those, besides with those historical documents I often like a certain layer of patina. Based on some scribblings at the back (and even a postal stamp!) those seem to have been used in Italy where the film was released under the title L'artiglio blu.

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Klaus Kinski, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Edgar Wallace

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Klaus Kinski, Edgar Wallace


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Die blaue Hand/Creature with the Blue Hand (1967)

Creature with the blue hand, poster, Klaus Kinski, Edgar Wallace, Rialto
Despite appearing, with sixteen performances, in every second Rialto Wallace (plus a number of related appearances in other similar German crime dramas of the period), Klaus Kinski rarely ever got the chance to star in one of those movies. 

 Creature with the Blue Hand/Die blaue Hand (1967), directed by Alfred Vohrer, is one of the few exceptions. 

 And we don’t just get Kinski once but (at least for a short period) twice as he plays a pair of twins, Dave and Richard Emerson. 

 Dave is being convicted for the murder of a gardener at his family’s estate, considered insane and subsequently incarcerated in a mental institution. In order to convince the judge that he is totally compos mentis, Dave jumps towards the bench and does a spewing and foaming Kinski, declaring his innocence.

 And strangely enough for a production that for a large part deals with all matters of insanity, this is pretty much the only time we see the actor letting loose. For large parts, Kinski here gives a very subdued but nevertheless mesmerising performance. 

One night Dave manages to escape from the asylum with the help of a mysterious stranger and he legs it to his family castle, conveniently located just a short distance away from the institution. Alas, while on the run a nurse and a warden get killed and suspicion falls yet again on Dave. 

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Klaus Kinski, Edgar Wallace
After arriving at the castle his brother Richard happens to vanish and Dave decides to slip into his twin brother’s clothes and impersonate him, a ruse that only the resident Scotland Yard detective (Harald Leipnitz, also in Der unheimliche Mönch/The Sinister Monk and Die Gruft mit dem Rätselschloß/The Curse of the Hidden Vault) sees through fast and yet despite dealing with a convicted killer, suspected of two further murders and officially declared insane, he and his boss Sir John (Siegfried Schürenberg) allow Dave to continue the charade in order to help with the investigation and flush out the real killer. 

Creature with the Blue Hand is one of those productions that, if you were brave enough to attempt an in depth plot analysis, would lead to an utterly byzantine labyrinth of incomprehensible madness.

 Nothing and no-one is as they seem. Twists are thrown at the audience in regular intervals. And everybody seems to have secrets, dual personas and hidden agendas abound. 

Yet, it’s such a well executed, good looking, fast moving and most of all fun piece of 1960s Krimi exploitation that few people would ever dare question the logic behind the plot. (And those that do, just need to chill.) 

Though nominally based on Edgar Wallace novel The Blue Hand (1925), the film contains practically nothing from its source and instead features a completely new plot. Rialto had previously already commissioned two vastly different scripts also very loosely based on the novel. For the film version a third script by Herbert Reinecker (aka Alex Berg in the credits) was finally used. 

In the novel (and somewhat similarly in the previous two scripts) the “blue hand” refers to blue hand prints left behind as mysterious symbols. In the film, however, the blue hand is now the murder tool. The killer is a hooded henchman who kills with the aid of switch blades hidden in a blue gauntlet taken from a knight’s armour belonging to a legendary French ancestor of the Emerson family. 

Though mansions and castles often feature prominently in the Edgar Wallace films, they are usually placed in urban areas (courtesy of stock footage of London). Creature with the Blue Hand is devoid of that and for the most part plays in two locations: the spooky castle of the Emersons and Dr Mangrove’s mental institution. 

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Klaus Kinski, Edgar Wallace

As a result of that there is an even stronger focus on Gothic tinged horror in a modern setting than normal at the expense of the familiar crime thriller aspect. 

The castle set allows Vohrer to go all out with Bavaesque colour schemes and his trademark unusual angles (e.g. faces filmed and distorted when shot through a wine glass). 

As can be expected in a Wallace film, there seem to be more secret doors and alleys in that residence than regular walk ways. And let’s not forget the bizarre assortment of creaking knight’s armours, skeletons, cobwebs and… mannequins hanging from nooses or seemingly knifed by Dave as an indicator of his madness. (Of course given that the entire film’s premise is all about exonerating Dave, one wonders why a sane Dave would have spent his time staging tableaus of murders and suicides for kicks.) 

The ultimate pièce de résistance, however, is Dr Mangrove’s asylum straight out of bedlam. 

Is it exploitative? In questionable taste? No longer acceptable for modern-day attitudes toward mental illness? 

Yes, yes and yes again. 

But it is also a hell of a lot of fun to watch and, pardon the pun, utterly insane. 

Dr Mangrove is played by Carl Lange (also in Der Frosch mit der Maske/Fellowship of the Frog and Der Hexer/The Ringer) and the monocle he is wearing would have deserved a separate credit. 

The inmates run the whole gamut of stereotypes par for films of that nature and also include a professional stripper with a compulsion to take her clothes off nonstop, much to the delight of Siegfried Schürenberg’s pervy, grand-fatherly Sir John who in his introductory scene in Scotland Yard raves against contemporary youth culture until his young female and mini-skirt wearing assistant (Ilse Pagé, soon to be a series regular in the very same role) drops in, causing him to be all charming and overly attentive again. 

 On top of this curious assortment of characters, the asylum also features locked rooms straight out of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here into which rats and snakes are dropped through hidden doors in front of a terrified inmate. 

Despite having the privilege of Kinski in the lead, the film is actually not dominated by him. In actual fact, he is absent for larger parts of it when the focus is on anyone of a dozen characters crucial to the story. 

Creature with the Blue Hand, lobby card, Klaus Kinski, Edgar Wallace

 The humour is toned down significantly in comparison to earlier entries and mainly comes courtesy of Sir John. Martin Böttcher reliably as ever provides the swinging film score. And Albert Bessler’s butler breaks down the 4th wall in the final scene when he announces that the next Wallace production would be Der Mönch mit der Peitsche/The College Girl Murders

This film was Diana Körner’s film debut. She plays Dave’s sister who during the course of the production gets incarcerated against her will by Dr Mangrove with the attempt to drive her mad. Körner over the years would become a very popular TV actress and is still active today in her mid-70s. 

Also worthy of note is the pretentiously named “Le Petit Maxim”, a deserted rural nightclub that appears to have been filmed on a farm. 

 All in all, Creature with the Blue Hand is one of the best examples of the second half of the Rialto series. Fast moving action, combined with creepy Gothic horror and an assortment of eccentric characters result in a memorable production. 

 Quentin Tarantino has referenced Creature with the Blue Hand as one of his favourite movies. A strong vote in favour that is only softened by the fact that he also appears to lay an identical claim for seemingly another 10.000 other flicks as well.

 There also appears to be a US version of the movie released in 1987 under the title The Bloody Dead by Sam Sherman containing newly filmed inserted gore scenes. 


 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Case of the Krimi (Severin Feature)

 A chat with another fellow Krimi Fan reminded me that Severin Films had produced a Krimi feature by Marcus Stiglegger for one of their releases which is available on YouTube. 

Unfortunately playback of the video has been disabled by the owner for other websites so I can't embed it here, so instead just go directly to the relevant link on YouTube

Now if only they could make those films available in English friendly versions as well....


Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Phantom of Soho (German Film Program)

 Neues Film Program 3475

4-page film program for atmospheric Bryan Edgar Wallace Krimi Das Phantom von Soho/The Phantom of Soho (1964) from a time when Soho wasn't yet gentrified and getting an overpriced Frappuccino was the last reason you had for going there.


The Phantom of Soho, film program, Bryan Edgar Wallace

The Phantom of Soho, film program, Bryan Edgar Wallace

The Phantom of Soho, film program, Bryan Edgar Wallace






Saturday, July 17, 2021

The Unnaturals (1969)

The Unnaturals, Schreie in der Nacht, Poster, Joachim Fuchsberger, Marianne Koch
A group of travellers during a violent storm gets stranded in a creepy mansion just to interrupt a séance conducted by a haggard old mother and her weirdo son who were on the verge of contacting the ghost of someone well known to the group and threatening to reveal some secrets that would better be left buried. Chaos ensues. 

 That kind of story is a quintessential Gothic Horror trope and the kind of plot that director Antonio Margheriti was well known for at the beginning of his career (e.g. Castle of Blood, Long Hair of Death).

 What caught my interest when I came across The Unnaturals aka Schreie in der Nacht aka Contranatura by pure chance after having never before heard of it, was the fact that this Italian production was partially financed by Atze’s Brauner’s CCC Film (who were also responsible for the 1960s Dr Mabuse movies as well as a plethora of other productions). 

 Those invested D-Marks ensured that the movie had a sizeable German cast including Joachim Fuchsberger (star of many a Rialto Krimi), Marianne Koch (best known internationally for A Fistful of Dollars but a popular German movie star at the time who also appeared in Coast of Skeletons/Sanders und das Schiff des Todes, an adventure film based on Edgar Wallace, and Das Ungeheuer von London City/The Monster of London City, a Bryan Edgar Wallace Krimi) and Helga Anders (Jerry Cotton: Murderclub Of Brooklyn). 

Needless to say, my interest was piqued. 

And needless to say as well that the film just couldn’t live up to that pique of my interest. 

There is usually a good reason when classic movies have been forgotten about. 

On the plus side, this production is pulling out all the stops for the scenes of the séance. Though filmed in colour the atmosphere is suitably creepy in those moments, all stuffed animals filmed at Dutch angles, spiders moving around in their web and zoom shots to the eyes that would have made a Lucio Fulci proud. Those scenes are also carried by “Alan Collins” aka Luciano “The Italian Peter Lorre” Pigozzi as the weird son and Marianne Leibl as the genuinely freaky mother. Leibl appears to have had mainly uncredited bit parts in a handful of movies but based on this performance alone I’d have loved to have seen her in much more. Of all the films I have seen with Pigozzi this is likely the one in which he had the biggest and most important role. 

The problem is that those scenes at the mansion are constantly interrupted by flashbacks that are filmed flat and without any sense of mystery and intrigue. Based on the costumes and cars used the plot seems to take place in the 1920s so this could have made for some stunning mise-en-scène, alas it is all just pretty dull and uninvolving and that - unfortunately - also includes the moments where Marianne Koch’s character for no particular reason turns into a raving sexoholic lesbian which frankly sounds more interesting than it is as Koch’s mumsy kind of beauty and charm just doesn’t carry the kind of eroticism required for this type of role which was highly atypical for her. 

The Unnaturals would prove to be her final movie before she studied medicine and became a popular TV Host, panelist and TV Doctor. 

Ironically the Italian trailer totally ignores the main Gothic aspects of this movie and entirely focuses on the lesbian affairs and gives an absolutely erroneous feel for what the movie is about. On the other hand it does seem to hint at the reason why it was called The Unnaturals or Contranatura. The German title Schreie in der Nacht [Screams in the Night] is generic but much more appropriate. 

There is a final twist reveal which feels very forced and just when you think it’s all over we get some surprise Deus-Ex-Machina style miniature work. 

Remember kids, if it’s Margheriti, it’s gotta have miniature work (whether it makes sense or not). 


 You wanna know more about Antonio Margheriti, check out Adrian Smith’s Antonio Margheriti Blog.

 Here in Ireland (and from what I can tell also in the UK at least), the film can be streamed on Prime in a less than glamorous print but beggars can’t be choosers. 

In Germany there was a DVD release but I won’t even honour it with a link as the DVD is out of print and is currently listed under some laughable prices. Let’s just say, the movie does NOT warrant spending €150, especially given that based on the reviews the print seems to be similar or identical to the washed out Prime version.




Thursday, July 8, 2021

The Avenger (German Film Program)

Neues Film Program #1967 

 This 4-page film program, in contrast to many others, is not particularly photo heavy and only displays images of scenes from Der Rächer/The Avenger (1960) on its front and back pages. 

This movie was the first non-Rialto Edgar Wallace movie of the 1960s and came very early on in the Wallace craze, following hot on the heels of Der Frosch mit der Maske/Fellowship of the Frog (1959) and Der rote Kreis/The Red Circle (1960). 

Produced by Kurt Ulrich Filmproduktion and directed by Karl Anton, both minor league in comparison to the behemoth that was Rialto and its talent, had a number of remarkable firsts as it featured the Wallace debuts of Klaus Kinski, Heinz Drache and Siegfried Schürenberg, who would all become major players for the main series. It also starred Ingrid van Bergen who would shoot one Rialto Wallace, Das Geheimnis der gelben Narzissen/The Devil’s Daffodil (1961). 

Unfortunately, that is where the interests ends as - instrumental as it may have been in its choice of acting talent - with regards to entertainment value, this is a terribly wasted opportunity and a fairly dull production.

Edgar Wallace, The Avenger, Heinz Drache, Klaus Kinski

Edgar Wallace, The Avenger, Heinz Drache, Klaus Kinski

Edgar Wallace, The Avenger, Heinz Drache, Klaus Kinski

Edgar Wallace, The Avenger, Heinz Drache, Klaus Kinski