HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Menace II Society
Azor
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Champion
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
   
 
  Dark Eyes of London, The Trouble On The Thames
Year: 1939
Director: Walter Summers
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Hugh Williams, Greta Gynt, Edmon Ryan, Wilfred Walter, Alexander Field, O.B. Clarence, May Hallatt, Bryan Herbert, Arthur E. Owen, Charles Penrose, Gerald Pring, Philip Stewart, George Street, Julie Suedo
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A dead body has been found washed up on the mud flats of the Thames River, and the police are called to help identify it. Detective Inspector Holt (Hugh Williams) is assigned to the matter, apparently because his boss has no faith in him so doesn't expect much from what appears to be the death of a vagrant, but Holt thinks there is something suspicious going on when the dead man proves to have had a life insurance policy that was owed to the charitable businessman Dr Feodor Orloff (Bela Lugosi). He seems to have his heart in the right place - but another drowned body recently had a policy in Orloff's name, so what is going on?

The Dark Eyes of London, if it is remembered by film buffs at all, was famous for being the first film the British censors branded with the H certificate, the H standing for "Horrific". This was both a way of keeping the children out of cinemas showing such movies, and to stigmatise such entertainments, though as they found with the later X certificate, it generated far more interest from the public in such efforts than if it had simply been awarded an A certificate for adult audiences. The British do love their moral panics, as the Video Nasties era had demonstrated, but before VHS was even thought of, there was the thirties horror boom to disdain.

Mostly brought about by Universal Studios and their blockbusters like Dracula and Frankenstein, this craze for fright flicks was big business across the Pond, and in Britain there were attempts to cash in, but it was not to last as the moral guardians saw to it that horror movies were shut down. It now seems incredible that one, albeit major, market could force a Hollywood studio to cease production on their most lucrative franchises, yet this is what happened, and for a few years in the mid-thirties there were no chillers produced at all. However, public interest in them never waned, and a rerelease of the Boris Karloff and Lugosi pictures proved there was a demand for them.

Keen to get in on the act, British producers snapped up horror talent for their own works, and The Dark Eyes of London was Lugosi's main contribution, a juicy role of the sort he was not really getting in Hollywood. He would doubtless have made more, only the Second World War broke out, and made travelling a lot more perilous, which meant more Poverty Row B-movies for poor old Bela, but at least he could point to this and say, yes, I can deliver a proper performance in a well-mounted film and, though he was far from appearing in every scene, he could legitimately been observed to carry it and be responsible for its success. Supporting him was a motley crew of leads and character actors, with the Brylcreemed Williams the ideal inspector for this Edgar Wallace adaptation.

Joining them as the leading lady was Norwegian sensation Greta Gynt (though she had lived in Britain since she was small), adding a touch of visual appeal to what was otherwise very dour and creepy. We were asked to find a home for the blind as the most unnerving place possible, which the film finally relents and admits these sightless men are merely unfortunate and not the real villains, though one of them actually is, the hulking brute Jake (Wilfred Walter) who does the dastardly doctor's dirty work for him. Also here was Edmon Ryan, an American import to connect with the American market and to add comic relief as a Chicago cop who is there in London because... well, good question. Just to ensure things don't get too morbid, perhaps. Seen for decades in poor public domain dupes, the film was eventually restored and highlighted a very enjoyable, shivery horror yarn that saw its profile rise above its previous dismissal, and can be recommended on that level. Jess Franco, anyway, must have liked it. Music by Guy Jones.

[The Dark Eyes of London is on Blu-ray and DVD 11 October 2021 from Network.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 334 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: