Friday, January 24, 2014

Dr. Renault's Secret (1942)

Starring J. Carrol Naish, John Shepperd, Lynne Roberts, George Zucco, Mike Mazurki
Directed by Harry Lachman
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An American doctor visits his fiancee in France at the home of her uncle, a noted scientist, and is intrigued by his soft-spoken handyman, not realizing he's the scientist's greatest experiment.

Centered around a strong performance by Naish as the mysterious Noel, aided by a subtle but convincing makeup, this is an interesting effort, with its only true detriment being a lack of anyone in the cast convincing as a Frenchman.  Nonetheless, there's a fine collection of character actors on display, with Zucco in a familiar role as the cruel scientist, Mazurki as his menacing gardener, and Arthur Shields as the determined police inspector.  Running under an hour, it's a short picture but well-paced by Lachman with an exciting climax.

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