Starring Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Maxie Rosenbloom, Larry Parks, Jeff Donnell
Directed by Lew Landers
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)
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.
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.
I also cover vintage television at my sister site, CLASSICS ON THE TUBE , so please feel free to check that out as well.
Thanks for visiting!