Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The color German Edgar Wallace films

I had been going through the moody black and white films of the German Edgar and Bryan Wallace films when I decided to try some of the color films one night. I was curious how they were since the earlier ones in black and white were the sort of moody mystery that I like to fall asleep to and I was wondering what the garish colors of 1960's films were going to be like and how that was going to affect the mysteries.

Clearly aimed at competing with TV these wide screen brilliantly colored films with some nudity are an often silly lot. They aren't bad as such they aren't what you would expect from an Edgar Wallace film (indeed many aren't even based on a Wallace-neither Edgar or Bryan- story but are part of the series because a voice says at the beginning that this is the voice of Edgar Wallace). Films connect to each other through the head of Scotland yard and his secretary.(The black and white films really don't connect except by the fact that many of the actors seem to appear again and again.

They are a forgettable lot, more something to have on in the background as a distraction rather then something to put on and lose one self in-frankly you'll be talking to the screen especially with the last two.

While I'm not a fan of the color films as a whole I'm including them here at Unseen Films for two reasons first, a couple of the films (the first two I've listed) are worth a look see on their own terms. If you can rent or borrow the films they are worth a look. The second reason I'm including them is that despite my ambivalence there are many people who really like the films. Because there is a chance that the films may click with you I've put together a short list of titles, good and bad, I've seen. (All of the films below are currently available from Sinister Cinema.)

Hand of Power-Who killed Sir Oliver? More importantly who is going around taking out people dressed in a skull mask and/ or looking rather dead and pretending to be the deceased Sir Oliver. A great skull mask is the best reason to see this okay but a bit too jokey murder mystery. This is one of the better color films.

Dead One in the Thames-A female cop is apparently killed after a drug bust she helped arrange by penetrating the gang. However her body disappears before the police arrive and her sister is left to ponder whats going on. Mod Bondish tale is okay but despite its best effort never rises above run of the mill. Best viewed on its own terms and not as one of any series. Possibly the most graphic with lots of red paint blood and bare breasts.

Man with the Glass Eye- Almost a Carry On film in its way with the police being more wittily silly (they wish) then in control. The title refers to a glass eye that's found in one victims pajamas. Notable for the murders, including poisoned pins in a mask, rather than anything else.

Horror of Blackwood Castle- Everyone is trying to get the jewels of a dead man. This is really a Carry On film with one of the characters seeming to be Spike Milligan. Its much too jokey to be taken seriously even if the look of the film is closest to the moody black and whites.

Hunchback of Soho-A hunchback in a poor costume lurks in and around Soho. If it wasn't intended to be a comedy, its become one-and not a good one either.
Gorilla of Soho- a Man in a Gorilla suit is running around Soho. He wears it because he was scarred. This would be okay but it just plays too knowingly to be enjoyed.

As a whole a mixed lot and not entirely worth bothering with. However if you stumbled on the first two (Hand or Dead One) you may want to try if you're in a forgiving mood.

No comments:

Post a Comment