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Der Frosch mit der Maske / Frøen

Fellowship of the Frog
Face of the Frog / Frøn med Masken

Denmark/West Germany 1959
produced by
Helmut Beck, Preben Philipsen for Rialto Film
directed by Harald Reinl
starring Joachim Fuchsberger, Eva Anthes (= Elfie von Kackreuth), Jochen Brockmann, Carl Lange, Dieter Eppler, Eva Pflug, Walter Wilz, Fritz Rasp, Erwin Strahl, Ernst Fritz Fürbringer, Eddi Arent, Ulrich Beiger, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Michel Hildesheim, Charlotte Sheier-Herold, Siegfried Lowitz
screenplay by Egon Eis (as Trygve Larsen), J.Joachim Bartsch, based on The Fellowship of the Frog by Edgar Wallace, music by Willy Mattes

Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle, Edgar Wallace made in Germany

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Master Criminal the Frog is having a jolly good time committing all sorts of crimes, from ransacking rich folks' houses to even murder, & he seems to have an ever-growing gang, too. The police on the other hand - & especially inspector Elk (Siegfried Lowitz) - are pretty much left without a clue, & every atempt to undermine the Frog's organisation seems to blow into their own faces: when they send the Frog an undercover agent, the Frog kills him in cold blood, when they send a spy to prison to get some information  out of some of the Frog's arrested henchmen, the spy turns out to be Number Seven (Erwin Strahl), one of the Frog's own men who has helped his henchies to escape from prison on numerous occasions, ...

But thank god there's Richard Gordon (Joachim Fuchsberger), one of these rich kid anmateur investigators, & he sees quite some clues thepolice have missed, the most promising one leading to the home of John Bennett (Carl Lange) & his kids, good girl Ella (Eva Anthes) & careless youth Ray (Walter Wilz) ... & really, before long the Frog visits Ella & tells her she would soon have to join him ... then disappears.

Before long, Ray Bennett visits the Lolita bar, where he gates a job as host & falls in love with Lolita (Eva Pflug), but the Frog might have his hands in the bar & Ray's employment as well - but Richard Gordon is already on the spot, having taken on a job as light technician to keep a watchful eye over Ray - to little avail though, as Ray is soon mixed up in a robbery that includes murder, but is caught by the police & sentenced to death.

... & now it gets silly. On his way to the gallows, Ray realizes the hangman is his own father, who, once alone in the execution room with his son (& of course a handy noose) just cannot kill him & instead they talk it over until papa is convinced his little boy is no killer ("I see it in your eyes ..."). In the meantime Gordon has gathered enough evidence to prove Ray's innocence, & Ray is freed from the gallows on a legal level, too.

The Frog meanwhile, having lost Ray to the side of good, kidnaps Ella, but Gordon & Inspector Elk are already on his trail & soon free her & overcome him.

When they unmask him, the Frog turns out to be ... Philo Johnson (Jochen Brockmann), who really didn't do all this much during the movie (I was hardpressed to remember hm at all).

& why did he do it all ?

To blackmail Ella's hangman father into helping him break his men free (what ?).

Eddie Arent (who would go on to act in a great number of German Edgar Wallace-adaptations, up until the 1990's) plays the comic relief here as Gordon's butler James, Ernst Fritz Fürbringer plays chief of police Sir Archibald.

 

The very first of 32 Edgar Wallace adaptations produced by Danish-German production company Rialto (a series that is now regarded as a major precursor for the Italian giallo-genre), & most of the elements are already firmly in place: the reliance on pulp fiction mainstays (like the hooded villain, knifethrowers, shadow & fog, seedy nightclubs, seductive nightclub singers, ...), a whodunit with invariably a surprise ending (whereby - like in this one - the emphasis is rather on surprise than on the logical buildup of a good whodunit), & of course a dashing hero & his damsel in distress ...

Despite Harald Reinl's obvious talent as a mystery director though, this is a lesser film of the series as its mix of elements doesn't seem too right & way too many subplots obscure the view at the big picture, especially since many of these subplots (like the hangman father & his convicted son) are outright stupid. Also, the unmasking of the Frog is somewhat less than satisfying.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD