Juggernaut (1936)

Article #1360 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-4-2005
Posting Date: 5-3-2005
Directed by Henry Edwards
Featuring Boris Karloff, Joan Wyndham, Arthur Margetson

A doctor desperate for funding to complete a project before he dies is propositioned by a scheming heiress to murder her husband.

This is one of the few of Karloff’s genre movies from the thirties that I had yet to see. It’s often overlooked and rarely discussed, and there are reasons for this. Despite the fact that the plot involves a scientist killing people so he can continue his experiments (which makes it similar to several other Karloff vehicles which are indisputably horror), it’s not a horror movie. What’s missing is the experiment itself; if they mentioned the nature of his experiments, I missed it, and it really doesn’t play any role in the proceedings. Karloff’s murders are either for the money, or to cover up evidence. So it’s not really horror; it’s more of a crime movie, and not a very good one. The script is weak, the set-up is confusing, talky and protracted, and the whole affair comes across as rather silly. Karloff does the best he can, but for some reason he hunches over during the whole movie and it’s distracting. However, Mona Goya (who plays the second wife of Sir Charles Clifford) overacts blatantly. Incidentally, Nina Boucicault is the daughter of Dion Boucicault, who was the first Irish playwright to have his work produced in England.

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