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Zimmer 13

Room 13

West Germany 1964
produced by
Horst Wendlandt, Erwin Gitt (executive) for Rialto
directed by Harald Reinl
starring Joachim Fuchsberger, Karin Dor, Richard Häussler, Walter Rilla, Eddi Arent, Siegfried Schürenberg, Hans Clarin, Karin Fischer, Erik Radolf, Benno Hoffmann, Bruno W.Pantel, Kurd Pieritz, Elfi Estell, Rena Horten, Jur Arten, Arthur Binder
screenplay by Quentin Philips (= Will Tremper), based on the novel by Edgar Wallace, music by Peter Thomas, cinematography by Ernst W.Kalinke

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

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Gangster Joe Legge (Richard Häussler) has some information to blackmail MP Sir Marney (Walter Rilla), and now he comes to collect. He wants to use Marney's mansion as hiding place for the loot of a gold shipment raid. Marney calls private eye Johnny Gray (Joachim Fuchsberger) in for assistance, and he is quick to pay a visit to a nightclub run by Legge's associate Igle (Hans Clarin), accompanied by Marney's daughter Denise (Karin Dor). But then a stripper in this nighclub is murdered with a razor blade right on stage, and Gray has to smuggle Denise out of the club, this way bringing attention to himself.

Marney receives a warning from Legge and now insists that Gray drops the case, but he continues to investigate, sometimes helped by Scotland Yard head Sir John (Siegfried Schürenberg), sometimes by the Yard's eccentric inventor professor Higgins (Eddi Arent). Many an attempt are made on his life too, and he has a hard time evading the gangsters while at the same time staying on their trail. Eventually, the gangsters get hold of Denise and take her hostage to force Sir Marney to cooperate, but she manages to free herself - and somehow, this leads to Legge's moll (Kai Fischer) ending up with her throat slashed.

The day of the raid of the gold shipment: Everything seems to be going according to an overcomplicated plan, until Legge arrives with the loot at Marney's place, and Marney welcomes him gun in hand. A shootout kills them both before Gray arrives with the police to arrest the Legge-gang.

But what about the stripper and Legge's girl, who ended up with their throats slashed? Somehow that doesn't fit with the rest of the story.

Well, this was all Denise's doing: When she was a kid, she witnessed her mother killing herself by slashing her throat. Since then, she felt the compulsion to murder women with a razor blade. And now, once this is out, she slashes her own throat, just like her mommy did.

 

No matter for which reason and whether or not you like the German Edgar Wallace-series, this is one of the weaker films of the cycle. Basically, it's badly written, so it lacks any and all dramatic buildup. On top of that, the two elements, the gangster plot and the serialkiller subplot, are never really blended, seem to exist independently from each other, and even stand in each others way every now and again. On top of that, the whole thing is overconvoluted and over-simplistic at the same time - never a good combination. And on the acting side, Joachim Fuchsberger is a bit too cool and laddish a lead to properly carry the story, while Karin Dor, playing a killer for the first time, gives one of her least interesting performances.

Rather a waste of time, actually.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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... 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