Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, April 7, 2008

THEATRE OF DEATH


THEATRE OF DEATH (1967/British). Director: Samuel Gallu.

Interesting, unpredictable tale about the owner and director of a Grand Guignol "Theatre of Death" in Paris named Philippe Darvas (Christopher Lee), who takes a young actress named Nicole (Jenny Till) under his wing to the consternation of her concerned friend and co-actor Dani (Lelia Goldoni). Meanwhile, there are a series of gruesome murders in which the victims are drained of blood. Dani's boyfriend, a former police surgeon named Charles Marquis (Julian Glover), gets involved with both the murders and the odd goings-on at the Theatre of Death. The plot is interesting but Gallu's direction is mediocre. Christopher Lee offers one of his haughtiest portrayals as the eminently artistic and remarkably overbearing Darvas, who really betrays his cruel streak during a riveting argument with the appalled Dani. The ending is way too drawn-out but the solution is certainly unusual and satisfying.

Verdict: Has its moments. **1/2.

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