Calling Dr. Death
The extraordinary telling, as sustained mental torture fitted to the Inner Sanctum, of a neurologist who has been bilked by an architect.
The nature of the crime is not fully known until the very end in a striking sequence under hypnosis.
The neurologist’s wife is murdered, the architect had been playing up to her.
The husband on a jealous tear may have killed her.
Disaffection is seen to have an effect of hysterical paralysis, it’s a side theme.
Quite apart from the analysis, the Inner Sanctum style is fully-formed at the outset in a perfect constellation of suspicion and dread, the mind’s-eye of radio made visible, little else to be met with is quite like it.
Nevertheless, Halliwell says of the six films, “they were among the most boring and badly made second feature thrillers of the forties,” which is an astonishing statement probably following Crowther’s lead.
A Monroe College ethnologist marries a colleague’s daughter raised in the South Seas, his field is superstition, she keeps evil away with talismans.
The librarian he spurned drives a plagiarizing rival for the sociology chair to suicide, and provokes a jealous student to gunplay that kills him.
The ethnologist is blamed, his wife is wracked by phone calls with the island death chant, terror and death surround the couple, until he identifies the culprit and works on her guilty conscience to a terrible conclusion.
“And boy,” said Bosley Crowther (New York Times) of this Inner Sanctum mystery, “is it dull!”
The Mummy’s Ghost
A consistent theme in Le Borg’s work is the rise of ancient gods against the living (the Ragnarök theme of Borges), here it finds typical expression within the Universal framework, they seize upon an American girl of Egyptian descent at Mapleton College in New England as the reincarnation of Princess Ananka, whom scholarship has removed to this locale and who must be returned to the burial place of her ancestors.
T.M.P. of the New York Times took a stance of amused annoyance, pleading with the studio for nothing further.
Dead Man’s Eyes
Unconscious motivations and Grand Guignol sangfroid are features of the Inner Sanctum, this film is rich in them, it defends the artist against a ham-fisted opponent, the analyst-connoisseur.
The structure is considerably vast, the point is made rather simply. The artist sees, as you might say, with the eyes of his predecessors, the ancient saying is he stands on their shoulders. He doesn’t kill them, the nescient appreciator does that, who after all fancies the model for himself, in his way.
An average painter breaks through to Salvador Dali authority on canvas, the model blinds him accidentally, she’s in love with him.
Corneal transplants are required, his fiancée’s wealthy father wills them to him and is murdered. There is an intricate array of suspects.
Le Borg handles this very easily, dwelling on the Forties design luxuriantly and daintily, without undue emphasis.
The film, as you would have guessed, has little or no critical reputation.
The White Orchid
The whole film is geared to an epiphany of Ancient Mexico, which is accomplished on the studio lot to the accompaniment of music associated with the Mexican composers of the revival in the Thirties and Forties. The structure is a delineation of perceptions by way of an anthropologist and a plantation owner vying for the affections of a photographer.
The location cinematography among the ruins at the beginning is very impressive, this is followed by a record of local folk ceremonies, before the long symphonic trek to the charming and almost humorous conclusion.
The various themes of feminine insularity, hucksterism and greed appertaining to a hotel development on a South Seas isle come to grief against carnivorous plants on either side of a Polynesian tribe “with our backs to the sea”.
Boris Karloff leads the cast, with Friedrich Ledebur as the chief.
Diary of a Madman
The magistrate who is an amateur artist kills his model, the ambitious wife of an artist, under the influence of a maleficent race of beings known as Horla, one of them bedevils him so.
This marvel was thought to be a joke in the New York Times, the All Movie Guide is presumptuously critical, a badly-reviewed film all around.
“This art wasn’t meant for immortality,” roars the Horla demanding that a picture be burned as evidence.