Saturday, February 28, 2009

Das Gasthaus an der Themse/The Inn on the River (1962)

A harpoon killer called “The Shark” is terrorising London’s docklands.

The Inn on the River feels like a Best of version of the Wallace thrillers. Although it has some tremendous stand alone scenes and quirky ideas, it still fails to establish this certain Je Ne Sais Quoi that would raise it to an absolute Must See level. It is a very good average for the series and – based on audience numbers – actually became the most popular entry.

Although the plot as such is not very original, the film itself oozes atmosphere: A lot of the scenes are set near the Thames – well, Hamburg’s Alster river – and even have some wonderful underwater photography and underwater fights which slightly predate similar ones in Thunderball, albeit in a more basic fashion. Alfred Vohrer has some of the scenes in the eponymous inn beautifully lit with strong black and white contrasts and loves to play with mirrors, reflections and close-up shots of human eyes.

Martin Böttcher’s music absolutely rules this film: In the first quarter of an hour alone we first have one of the looniest Jazz hybrid tunes ever composed including the sounds of barking dogs, manic screams and cuckoo clocks being followed shortly afterwards by one of the best songs of the series (about all the things that can happen at night) sung – or better hoarsely whispered – by Elisabeth Flickenschildt.

Eddi Arent dances the twist and rows a boat. Joachim Fuchsberger returns back to the series as a member of the river police. Brigitte Grothum is a very tomb boy-ish and asexual love interest. Klaus Kinski catches us by surprise as a mysterious moustachioed hoodlum in a white suit… or does he?

The Inn on the River marked the departure of scriptwriter Egon Eis from the series. Up until now the source novels were relatively closely adapted for the screen. From now on they would gradually stray further from the originals up to the point where they would be nearly completely new productions with only the remotest link to Edgar Wallace himself.


  1. Hello Holger, I just found your new blog, after reading already the other one Groovy Age of Horror! I love this EW movie! It has so much atmosphere as you already mentioned and especially I like the song by Elisabeth Flickenschildt! I could listen to that song all night long in a jazzy surrounding!

  2. Thanks for your lovely comment, Mirko. As you know GROOVY AGE is of course Curt's blog (though I have at one time contributed to it). My own other blog is dedicated to Hammer movies:
    I'm also a long time admirer of Marisa Mell and always stop by your own blog about her myself.

  3. The Inn on the River was one of the first krimis I saw, so I have a real soft spot for it.