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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Hidden Hand (1942)

Starring Craig Stevens, Elisabeth Fraser, Julie Bishop, Willie Best, Frank Wilcox
Directed by Ben Stoloff
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A mad killer escapes from an insane asylum, and heads for his family estate, where his sister plans to enlist his help in dealing with her greedy heirs.

Although all the usual elements of an Old Dark House thriller are here, the film's lacking any real mystery or suspense, since we know who the killer is from the start of the picture.  Nevertheless, familiar character actor Milton Parsons makes a good boogeyman with crazed eyes and a soft-spoken voice, and his eerie stare from inside a coffin or triggering a deadly trap door is quite effective.  Unfortunately, the rest of the cast fails to make the same impact, with the screenplay adding little detail to their characters, instead focusing on stereotypes played by Willie Best and Kam Tong.  Still, the movie's worth seeing for Parson's performance.

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