Friday, January 30, 2015

The Body Snatcher (1945)

Starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell, Edith Atwater, Russell Wade
Directed by Robert Wise
(actor & director credits courtesy

A Scottish doctor resorts to buying corpses from a grave robber in order to train his students, but regrets it once the grave robber begins intruding into his life.

We have here one of the best of producer Val Lewton's horror pictures, which avoided showing frightful scenes on screen, but built suspense and chills through shadow and sound and suggestion.  The monster here is Karloff, not in appearance, but in the psychological war he wages with Daniell's character, and both actors are in good form here, well complemented by Robert De Grasse's dark photography, and fine direction by a young Robert Wise on one of his first solo assignments.  The only down note is the wasting of the talents of Bela Lugosi in a small role, although second-billed and heavily featured in the film's trailer and advertising.

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