Freitag, der 13 (1949)

FREITAG, DER 13 (1949)
aka Friday the 13th
Article 4174 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 3-7-2013
Directed by Erich Engels
Featuring Fritz Kampers, Angelika Hauff, Fita Benkhoff
Country: Germany
What it is: German “old dark castle” movie

A lord fears that rumors that his castle is haunted will keep him from selling it. He decides to have guests stay in a supposedly haunted room to prove that it isn’t haunted, but the guests disappear overnight…

Here’s another one I’ve managed to retrieve from my “ones that got away” list, and like many of the other foreign films on that list, I was only able to find a copy without English dubbing or subtitling. Fortunately, I was able to find at least a cursory plot description of the basic premise; unfortunately, exactly how the whole story plays out remains a bit of a mystery to me. I will say this much about it; it seems like a German variation on the “old dark house” motif, albeit one that doesn’t involve the reading of a will. Still, those familiar with the basic motif will guess early on the big secret of the room. There’s a few atmospheric scenes, and at least two sequences do manage to entertain despite the language barrier. One cleverly directed scene has a window being closed upon the audience, with the sound quality changing so that it feels we’re listening from the other side of a window. Another moment that comes through is a revelation about an inspector that appears in the middle of the movie; I was able to discern what the joke was concerning him despite the language barrier. Though I can’t give a meaningful review of the movie, my overall impression was that the movie was merely okay.

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