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

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Guy Rolfe [foreground] and David Spenser [behind him]
THE STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY (1959). Director: Terence Fisher.

Captain Harry Lewis (Guy Rolfe) of the East India Co. has been amassing details about the great many disappearances of people and caravans in Bombay. After heated complaints from merchants about the situation, Colonel Henderson (Andrew Cruickshank), decides a man must be appointed to head an investigation. Although he considers Lewis an expert, he nevertheless assigns the arrogant, insufferable. newly-arrived Captain Connaught-Smith (Allan Cuthbertson) to the job. Meanwhile the stranglers of the cult of Kali continue robbing and murdering with impunity. The severed hand of Lewis' houseman, Ram Das (Tutte Lemkow), who went to get his younger brother, Gopali (David Spenser), away from the cult, winds up on his dining room table to horrify his wife, Mary (Jan Holden). Will Lewis survive to strike down the cult, or are his days numbered? The Stranglers of Bombay is a zesty, absorbing Hammer production with an excellent cast, especially Rolfe [Mr. Sardonicus]; George Pastell as the High Priest of Kali; Cuthbertson as the snooty, hateful Connaught-Smith; Paul Stassino as Lt. Silver, a colleague of Lewis' who secretly belongs to the cult; and Marne Maitland [The Terror of the Tongs] as Patel Shari, who may or may not be an ally. One of the most interesting scenes is a battle between a mongoose and a snake that is on its way to strike at Lewis. Terence Fisher directed a great many films for Hammer studios and others.

Verdict: Hammer hits another home run. ***.

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