Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942)

Starring Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Maxie Rosenbloom, Larry Parks, Jeff Donnell
Directed by Lew Landers
(actor & director credits courtesy

A young women buys a dilapidated historical tavern from an eccentric scientist, unaware that he has been performing dangerous experiments in the basement on door-to-door salesmen.

Although usually grouped with Karloff's "mad doctor" films for Columbia, this one's very different in tone and format, a dark comedy with a similar plot to Arsenic And Old Lace, which Karloff had appeared in on the Broadway stage.  Filled with bizarre characters, including Lorre's sheriff/doctor/justice of the peace who keeps a kitten in his coat pocket, Maude Eburne's daffy housekeeper, and Frank Puglia's mad bomber, it's clearly trying to emulate that comedy classic, but falls quite a bit short, and is probably too much of a retread to be valued on its own merits.  Karloff gives another memorable characterization and it's good to see him in a comedic role, one of far too few in his carrer.  Lorre and Rosenbloom have some good scenes, there is a bit of funny dialogue,    and I still found the film entertaining, but it suffers from going to the same well as Karloff's stage success.

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