Death is a Number (1951)

Article 2622 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-9-2008
Posting Date: 10-17-2008
Directed by Robert Henryson
Featuring Terence Alexander, Lesley Osmond, Denis Webb
Country: UK

An advocate of numerology tells us the story of a friend of his who was cursed by the presence of the number 9 in his life, a consequence thsy will bring about his death.

You know, sometimes I feel like objecting to a movie purely in terms of its failing to make effective use of the medium of cinema. Though all of the blather about numerology is as scary as Count Floyd, there’s a certain amount of creativity to some of the low-budget special effects, and some of the events in the middle section of the movie (in which ghosts and a strange window play a part) have a certain eerie charm. Unfortunately, most of the movie is told via tiresome narration, so much so that it often feels like you’re not watching a movie, but having somebody tell you the story (though with an ulterior motive of explaining numerology to you). This one might have been a much better movie had it tried to tell its story visually, dump the narration, stick to the ghost section of the story in the middle, and remove the numerology undercurrent. As it is, it feels more like the first draft of a movie that still needed a lot of work. Still, at only fifty minutes, it doesn’t really wear out its welcome.


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