Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mark of the Vampire

Staring: Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Jean Hersholt, Henry Wadsworth

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I caught this film late night after Freaks (a wonderfully horrifying film – not for the reasons you’d think) on Turner Classic Movies, and it wasn’t half bad.

The film had great atmosphere, but was completely incomprehensible at times. This was the major downfall to the film, as one scene was easy to follow and then the next… what? And no, this was not a case of alcohol getting to me, it generally was pretty convoluted by the end of the film – the final scene really screwing up a lot of the stuff that had been established ON SCREEN. I smiled, but felt completely betrayed. Oh well, it was haunting while it lasted.

The film was apparently a remake of “London After Midnight”, a 1927 Lon Chaney film. Oh BOO!!! HISS!!! Yes, Hollywood was remaking films probably all the way back to 1902, heck I’m sure Thomas Edison did some devious things back in the 1890s - he ripped off “Le Voyage Dans la Lune/A Trip to the Moon” which came out in 1902 by making unauthorized copies and got all the money) - so it’s not hard to imagine.

Obviously the casting of Lugosi wasn’t an accident as Dracula had just come out not long ago – and this obviously would have been a huge draw for them. Lionel Barrymore (you know Potter, the old guy who ripped off George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life) is wonderful as Prof. Zelin. Outside that it has all the signs (some good – many bad) of it being a typical B-film. Extremely short runtime (60 minutes).

Verdict: ** ½ /*****

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