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

Thursday, August 16, 2012


THE MAN IN HALF MOON STREET (1945). Director: Ralph Murphy.

Dr. Julian Karell (Nils Asther), doctor and painter, has fallen in love with Eve Brandon (Helen Walker), but he has a big secret. He may look like a man in his thirties, but with the help of colleague Dr. van Bruecken (Reinhold Schunzel) and via the transplanting of glands, he has managed to extend his life for decades and is actually quite elderly. Eve's father (Edmund Breon) and his associate Dr. Latimer (Paul Cavanagh) distrust Karell, and prompt Scotland Yard into doing an investigation. Could Karell be the same man who committed murder decades in the past? Morton Lowry is a medical student that Karell tries to use in his experiments. The Man in Half Moon Street has an intriguing premise, but it's a bit slow, only picking up in the final quarter, but leaving the audience with more questions than answers. Asther and Walker are excellent and the climactic scenes are well done. This was remade as the superior The Man Who Could Cheat Death. Walker was also in Nightmare Alley and Impact.

Verdict: Fairly interesting lost horror. **1/2.


Anonymous said...

The Man in Half Moon Street is infinitely superior to the garish, half-baked rehash produced by Hammer. It's a common misconception that the sophistication and acuity of the picture-goers of previous decades is lacking the further back one travels in time. Actually, to a large degree, the reverse is the case. Many comprising the audiences of those times were better able to discern subtleties that would be completely lost on the majority of modern audiences. That's not to say that there weren't those around at the time who might have found this picture "dull". The yarn is spun with a great deal of care for those (more then) with eyes to see and ears to hear.
Thos. Hewn

William said...

Thanks for your comment. We'll have to agree to disagree on this. I agree that it is wrong to assume that viewers of old movies lack sophistication etc. -- your points are well taken. I could argue that you have a bias against the Hammer product -- some of the Hammer films are truly terrible but others, such as the remake, were, in my opinion at least, quite effective. Say, it's not as if I thought the remake was a masterpiece and the original was awful -- just that I liked the remake a bit better -- no need to get snobbish, LOL -- and thought Diffring gave an excellent performance (as did Asther in the original). Stay well and keep watching the movies!