The Avenger (1960)

THE AVENGER (1960)
aka Der Racher
Article 1887 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-15-2006
Posting Date: 10-12-2006
Directed by Karl Anton
Featuring Heinz Drache, Ingrid van Bergen, Benno Sterzenbach

A man known as the Benefactor has been decapitating people and leaving their heads in packages. An investigator follows the few leads he has to try and track down the identity of the killer.

The Edgar Wallace movies made in a Germany during the early sixties are a bit of mixed bag. I like the story in this one, and there are a number of interesting characters, including a womanizer with a sword collection, a mute and rather monstrous manservant, and a petulant and ambitious script reader. The story itself is quite interesting, and it has some nice atmosphere on occasion. However, the dubbing is a real problem; though the translated script manages to retain an air of wit, the actually sound of the dubbing is dry and lacking in spontanaeity; you are always aware you are watching a dubbed movie, and it tends to distance you from the story. The movie also suffers from poor pacing; despite the interesting story, there are long stretches where nothing important is happening, and the movie feels almost a half-hour too long as a result. Some of the other Edgar Wallace movies from this time feel the same way, and I sometimes wonder if the movie would fare better in subtitled form. Still, there is a sense of dark, morbid fun to the stories, and I suspect that some time in the future, another enterprising movie company will see the appeal of Wallace’s work and make their own series. And, you know, I wouldn’t mind that at all.

Incidentally, the actor credited as Klais Kinski is, or course, Klaus Kinski. Even if they can’t spell the name, you’ll recognize the face.

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