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

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Richard Arlen and Pierre Watkin
THE PHANTOM SPEAKS (1945). Director: John English.

A nutty doctor named Paul Rudwick (Stanley Ridges) thinks he can bring back the spirits of the dead, and tests his theory on a convicted murderer, Bogardus (Tom Powers of I Love Trouble), after he has just been executed. It never occurs to this fool that the soul of this extremely dangerous murderer can take over the doctor's mind, which is what happens, with the result that Rudwick starts tracking down and murdering all of Bogardus's enemies. Reporter Matt Fraser (Richard Arlen of Island of Lost Souls) is engaged to Joan (Lynne Roberts of Because of You) the doctor's daughter, while Pierre Watkins plays Fraser's boss, Davis. This is a cheap Republic production that somehow manages to hold the viewer's attention despite the fact that it's pretty much by the numbers, unoriginal, and predictable; if only the basic story had been developed more. Ridges is effective as the decidedly dumb doctor who pays a terrible price for his stupidity and irresponsibility. This is practically a remake of Black Friday, the Lugosi-Karloff film in which Ridges also played a decent man taken over by a hoodlum's consciousness.

Verdict: Republic cheapie creepy has its moments. **1/2.

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