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Fox Horror Classics Collection Volume 2 (Dragonwyck / Chandu the Magician / Dr. Renault's Secret)
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I saw this movie for the first time on Turner Classic Movies a couple of years back and it's one of the superb old B&W horror-mystery flicks of the day ('40s). I tried to obtain it then but it wasn't available on either VHS or DVD... but it's available now!
Here's the story:
A dapper young brain surgeon, Larry Forbes, (played by John Shepperd) visits his fiancée ("Madeline Renault," played by Lynne Roberts) at her home in a remote French villa where her mad scientist father, Dr. Renault (played by George Zucco), resides and conducts horrific experiments in his lab. In fact, Zucco has created a man (of sorts) from an ape (reminiscent of "The Island of Dr. Moreau").
Forbes meets Noel (pronounced "no-ELL," and played by J. Carrol Naish) who functions as Dr. Renault's "Igor-like" assistant (and actually the ape-man), who harbors a dog-like devotion for Madeline, (Dr. Renault's daughter). Forbes, to his horror, soon learns Noel's true identity.
The main trouble begins at a local Inn where, during a Bastille celebration, we meet Rogell (played by Mike Mazurki), an ex-convict who is now Renault's gardener and Austin (played by Jack Norton), a drunken American who torments Noel (not a great idea!) with his insinuations about Forbes' upcoming marriage to Madeline. Austin is soon found dead, the result of a broken neck.Read more ›
First off is the 1932 "Changdu the Magician", a boys' own adventure which not surprisingly became a serial a few years later. The film has Bela Lugosi chewing the scenery with great aplomb as he steals a death ray and tortures its inventor to learn how to use it. Edmund Lowe, a matinee idol of yesteryear, is a stiff and far too proper hero but the film benefits from great photography and imaginative sets which help to overcome the dreadful script.
Next is "Dr Renault's Secret", a neatly directed programmer released in 1942 and with a fair gallery of supporting players, a moderately interesting story about the missing link between man and the ape and 2 fine central performances by the enigmatic George Zucco and the superb J Carroll Naish. It is a very polished "little" film with excellent sets and photography and the closest to a horror film of this trio.
The final film, released in 1946, is the gothic romance, "Dragonwyck", an expensively mounted vehicle for the rapidly rising Gene Tierney and a star making role for Vincent Price playing the sort of character he would make his own in subsequent years. This could not be classified as a horror film really (think of "Jane Eyre" or "Rebecca" and you'll get the idea) and while it is well made with good performances from the leads and the indispensible Walter Huston, it is quite dull and predictable. This was the first film directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.Read more ›
I watched part of Dr. Renault's Secret, which is reminiscent of Island of Lost Souls but not as good. Maybe I'm jaded.
I have yet to watch Chandu. I think I'll wait for a creepy, stormy night, which might put me in a more receptive mood.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As always Vincent Price doesn't disappoint !! He's always mysterious and intriguing. Gene Tierney also give a great performance . Read morePublished 1 month ago by Luvs Cemeteries
"Dragonwyck" was all I wanted, so I haven't watched the other ones yet, but "Dragonwyck" was perfect. It came sooner than expected. So it's all good. Thank you.Published 8 months ago by Sherry Porter
I bought this set just for the CHANDU movie and wasn't disappointed! Recommended.Published 12 months ago by Strangenstein
A grand collection from a studio not really known for horror films in the 1940s. Very interesting set of movies here superbly done! The transfers look great!Published 13 months ago by Mark King
All the films have been lovingly remastered, making them very enjoyable to watch.Published 19 months ago by uberdoc
Love the Movie Dragonwick ..it was cheaper to buy this 3 pack than it was to buy just Dragonwick ...so I got a bonus of 2 other movies ...Loving Classic Movies !Published 22 months ago by Marilynn A. Jones
I recommend, who likes horror films, to buy this entire collection. Old horror films are more impressive than the moderns Sci-Fi DVD's.Published on June 14, 2014 by FELIX BELLI
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