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Die Toten Augen von London

The Dead Eyes of London
The Dark Eyes of London / Geheimnis von London

West Germany 1961
produced by
Horst Wendlandt for Rialto Film
directed by Alfred Vohrer
starring Joachim Fuchsberger, Karin Baal, Dieter Borsche, Wolfgang Lukschy, Eddi Arent, Ann Savo (= Anneli Sauli), Bobby Todd, Franz Schafheitlin, Ady Berber, Harry Wüstenhagen, Rudolf Fenner, Hans Paetsch, Ida Ehre, Fritz Schröder-Jahn, Klaus Kinski, Gertrud Prey, Walter Ladengast, Kurt A.Jung, Erich Weiher, Joachim Wolff
screenplay by Egon Eis (as Trygve Larsen), based on the novel The Dark Eyes of London by Edgar Wallace, music by Heinz Funk

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

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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On the typical London foggy nights, short sighted rich businessmen from abroad without British relatives fall into river Thames and drown way too often for Inspector Holt (Joachim Fuchsberger) to believe in coincidence - and when he finds a note written in braille, he has got a first clue that leads him, his assistant Sunny (Eddi Arent) and (seeing) braille specialist Norah (Karin Baal) to blind reverend Dearborn's (Dieter Borsche) home for the blind, and to the blind brute Blind Jack (Ady Berber)

Soon another clue pops up that has to do with Stephan Judd's (Wolfgang Lukschy) insurance company where all the dead businessmen were insured for quite handsome sums. Judd, it turns out, is blackmailed by Flicker Fred (Harry Wüstenhagen), who in turn was the ex of Fanny (Ann Savo), who was later Judd's brother's girlfriend who died many moons ago - In the course of the narrative though, all Blind Jack, Flicker Fred and Fanny, as well as Judd's sinister secretary (Klaus Kinski), have to die while Norah gets sucked into the proceedings by her now dead father she didn't even know about who left her a handsome sum of money after he got killed by whoever-it-was.

Eventually, Holt finds out that the home for the blind is the center of it all - and finds several secret passageways and the like, after all this is a German Edgar Wallace adaotation -, but by then it's almost too late because the mastermind of the whole operation has already taken Norah captive and ... wants to marry her !?!

Ah yeah, to noone's real surprise, the evil mastermind turns out to be reverend Dearborn, who is actually neither a reverend nor blind but Judd's brother with perfect eyesight. And he and his brother worked together on a big insurance scam that would cripple Stephan Judd's insurance company ... but make sure that the brothers would never have to work again. And all the Judd brohters have to do now is to either marry Norah or force her to leave them her new-won fortune, but Holt already dashes to the rescue.

In the end though, it's Holt's comic relief sidekick Sunny who takes the decisive shot to put the reverend out of action and has the Judd brothers arrested

 

Now this film has one super-convoluted plot, and manages to leave dozens of questions unanswered (the first and foremost being why use a blind assassin ? and why use a home for the blind as an elaborate cover when you have a blind assassin ? and why does the assassin always leave tell-tale notes in braille lieing near his victims ? and so on, and so forth ...) while the outcome of the whole film is a tad too easy to guess (which is rather atypical for German Edgar Wallace films where more often than not a culprit is pulled out of a hat in the end). That all said, in a nostalgic sort of way Die Toten Augen von London is still good entertainment, a fun reminder of yesteryear's pulp fiction with all the key elements - the ugly brute, the sinister and mysterious crime mastermind, the damsel-in-distress, endless secret passageways and sliding panels, London perpetually covered in fog, and all infused with an atmosphere of horror - firmly in place. Just don't make the mistake and take the film too seriously ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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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
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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