The Charlatan (1929)

Article 2633 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-20-2008
Posting Date: 10-28-2008
Directed by George Melford
Featuring Holmes Herbert, Margaret Livingston, Rockliffe Fellowes
Country: USA

A one-time circus performer disguises himself as a spiritualist in order to track down his wife, who ran off with another man and took his daughter with her. When he finds her, he plans to get his daughter back and get revenge.

This one is basically your “old dark house” horror mystery movie, though it does lack some of the more common elements of that type of movie. This one seems a cut above most of the others, though, and I think this is largely due to an excellent performance by Holmes Herbert as the former husband turned spiritualist; despite the fact that he may be the villain of the piece, he somehow makes us feel for him and his situation. It’s amazing that I’ve probably seen this actor almost two dozen times in various movies for this series (including a whole slew of Universal and Sherlock Holmes movies), but it’s only here that I noticed how good an actor he was. This movie was apparently shot with a sound sequence, but my print was entirely silent. Director George Melford is probably best known among horror fans for having helmed the Spanish language version of the 1931 DRACULA. All in all, this is one of the better movies of its particular subgenre.


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