Thursday, March 6, 2014

Strange Countess (1961)

Containing one of Klaus Kinski's meatier roles in an Edgar Wallace adaption, The Strange Countess, tells the story of a young woman who works for a well respected law firm. She gets the job to work for a socially prominent Countess as her personal secretary. However just as she gets the job a strange man (Kinski) begins to call her to say that he time was running out. Kinski then makes several attempts to kill her.  What then transpires is weird tale that has connections back to events twenty years earlier when a poisoner was sent to prison.

One of the more complex films in the German Wallace series, this is one where you can kind of un ravel who done it via a lucky guess, but you'll never get everything that's going on until its revealed simply because they keep tossing twists and turns at you.

I like that the film has very little of the tongue in cheek humor that would come to dominate the series in later entries. Yes, the Countess's son is a bit loopy but he doesn't take the fore front and the mystery and suspense is allowed to take it's rightful place front and center.

While in many ways this is one of the best mysteries of the series I'm not sure I would say its one of my favorites. The film is almost impossibly busy with the plot forever driving forward with new twists. The film never takes a break, and while it does keep you watching you're never given time to reflect.

Still as Wallace films go,any one that keeps the focus on the mystery is a must see in my book.

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