The Terror (1938)

Article #1619 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-20-2005
Posting Date: 1-17-2006
Directed by Richard Bird
Featuring Bernard Lee, Linden Travers, John Turnbull

Ten years after the robbery of a gold shipment, two accomplices who were jailed for the crime get out of prison and decide to track down the mastermind of the robbery who turned them in. Events lead them to a spooky old house with secrets of its own.

I have to admit that I found this British Edgar Wallace / Old Dark House movie to be very enjoyable. It has a lot of the usual elements of the Old Dark House genre, including a mysterious hooded figure, murders, secret passages and organ playing late at night. The real selling point of this one, though, is the interesting cast. Arthur Wontner, who played Sherlock Holmes several times during the early thirties, is on hand as the owner of the mansion with a secret, and a young Bernard Lee (famed for playing M in the James Bond movies) as the drunken ne’er-do-well who isn’t quite what he seems (for one thing, he’s not really drunk). The big plus, though, is the presence of the great Alastair Sim as the smarter of the two ex-convicts, and though he really isn’t given a lot to do, he steals every scene he’s in. You do have to like the genre to fully enjoy this one, but if you do, this is a good one.


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