Starring Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O'Neil, Ian Hunter, Vincent Price
Directed by Rowland V. Lee
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)
Richard of Gloucester plots his ascension to the English throne through trickery and murder with the aid of a loyal executioner.
After teaming earlier in the year for Son Of Frankenstein, Rathbone, Karloff, and producer/director Lee return for this costume drama retelling the cruelties of Richard III, playing it up like a horror movie by tracking in the title music from their previous film. It's a marvelous showcase for Rathbone as the villainous Richard, who brings across icy stares and cruel sneers as well as phony airs of sympathy and sincerity to achieve his aims. He also, despite his debauchery, is the character to root for in the film, opposed by bland heroes played by John Sutton and Ralph Forbes. Karloff has a marvelous opening scene in which he's introduced as the club-footed executioner sharpening an axe with a raven on his shoulder, but disappointingly doesn't have much more to do in the film than obey Richard's orders. To be honest, this isn't among the better films of its type, but I enjoy it, and there's a wealth of character actors on display from Miles Mander to Lionel Belmore to Leo G. Carroll, and even a young Vincent Price, who would take on Rathbone's role in the 1962 remake.
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!