The Hunchback of Soho (1966)

THE HUNCHBACK OF SOHO (1966)
aka Der Bucklige von Soho
Article 3343 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-24-2010
Posting Date: 10-9-2010
Directed by Alfred Vohrer
Featuring Gunther Stoll, Pinkas Braun, Monika Peitsch
Country: West Germany
What it is: Krimi… in Color!

Police investigate a series of strangulation murders. These appear to be tied to the disappearance of an heiress and her replacement by a substitute.

This was the first of the German Edgar Wallace movies of the sixties to be shot in color. To my mind, this stripped the series of one of its strengths; the black-and-white photography of the earlier movies gave them a serious, moody ambiance that is missing in this brightly lit movie. Furthermore, though it may be just the dubbing, I do really get the sense that the comic relief has inexplicably taken over the movie; it gives the impression that everyone is playing for laughs which aren’t in the script. On top of that, the score sounds like someone hired an avant-garde jazz composer to write a James Bond-style score with vocals by a black-belt karate expert practicing his kicks; it’s disorientingly strange. Fortunately, the score isn’t used near as much as it might have been, and once you get through the confusing first half of the movie, the plot finally gains momentum and it turns out not half bad. The hunchback strangler is the horror element of this one, which isn’t a giveaway – it’s established before the opening credits. Though some of the later color movies in the series would show a bit more skill in retaining the moodiness, it was starting to be obvious at this point that the series was starting to go downhill.

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