Die Toten Augen von London
The Dead Eyes of London
The Dark Eyes of London / Geheimnis von London
West Germany 1961
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
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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
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
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 ...