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

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Heinz Drach
THE AVENGER (aka Der Racher/1960). Director: Karl Anton.

An unknown person who calls himself the "Executioner," has been running about decapitating criminals and the terminally ill and leaving their heads in boxes. Special agent Michael Brixan (Heinz Drach) follows a lead at a film set where he finds a clue in an old script. He is convinced that someone connected to the film company may be either the Executioner or an ally. Suspects and other characters include the director, Jackson (Friedrich Schoenfelder); his temperamental star, Stella Mendoza (Ingrid van Bergen); the elderly Henry Longvale (Ludwig Linkmann); the perverse Sir Gregory (Benno Sterzenbach); Bhag (Al Hoosmann), Gregory's brutish native manservant; the scriptwriter Voss (Klaus Kinski); and Ruth Sanders (Ina Duscha), the niece of the latest victim and an aspiring actress. Based on another novel by the prolific Edgar Wallace, The Avenger is not as horrific or gory as the plot may suggest, but there are some creepy final scenes taking place in old tunnels and caverns beneath an estate. Lots of red herrings in this but the wind-up is satisfying. Many more West German Wallace adaptations would follow.

Verdict: Another convoluted but entertaining Wallace story. **1/2.

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