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Der Bucklige von Soho

The Hunchback of Soho

West Germany 1966
produced by
Horst Wendlandt, Fritz Klotsch (executive) for Rialto
directed by Alfred Vohrer
starring Günther Stoll, Pinkas Braun, Monika Peitsch, Siegfried Schürenberg, Eddi Arent, Agnes Windeck, Gisela Uhlen, Hubert von Meyerinck, Uta Levka, Suzanne Roquette, Joachim Teege, Hilde Sessak, Susanne Hsiao, Kurt Waitzmann, Ilse Pagé, Albert Bessler, Richard Haller,
screenplay by Herbert Reinecker, based on a story by Edgar Wallace, music by Peter Thomas

Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycleEdgar Wallace made in Germany, Sir John (Siegfried Schürenberg)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Wanda Merville (Monika Peitsch) comes to London to accept the inheritance of her estranged father, no less than half a million Pounds, but then she's kidnapped, and another woman, Gladys (Uta Levka), is taking her place while her lawyer (Joachim Teege) is blackmailed into confirming Gladys is indeed Wanda.

In an at first seemingly unrelated storyline, Scotland Yard inspector Hopkins (Günter Stoll) is investigating a series of murders, committed by the mysterious "Strangler", with all of the victims being pretty girls. Eventually he stumbles over a correctional facility run by General Perkins (Hubert von Meyerinck) and his wife (Agnes Windeck), and the General just happens to be Wanda's uncle, but has little trouble accepting the fake Wanda for the real one. Now the thing about the correctional facility is that it's actually a recruiting place for a white slavery and prostitiution racket run by the warden (Hilde Sessak) and the priest (Eddi Arent), who work in tandem with a casino/brothel run by sinister Alan Davis (Pinkas Braun) and Mrs Tyndal (Gisela Uhlen), and this group is also responsible for the kidnapping of Wanda, and for the murders by the Strangler, who's actually their in-house hunchback (Richard Haller) taking care of the girls trying to get away. Soon though there's discord between all the baddies, and eventually they fall one by one, with inspector Hopkins really more trying to catch up with the body count than doing any actual investigating, but at least he can unmask the fake Wanda - who soon enough bites the dust as well. After the dust settles though, Hopkins pulls the "real culprit" out of the hat, General Perkins, who of course wanted Wanda's inheritance, and a bit of money from white slavery on the side can't hurt much either.

Siegfried Schürenberg takes another turn as Sir John, chief of Scotland Yard.

 

The first German Edgar Wallace film shot in colour - and that's probably the only attribute that makes this one special, as everything else is as it always was, a terribly convoluted story that involves pretty much every crime you could throw at it and that would stick, plus plenty of secret passageways and trap doors, and a hunchback on top of all, blended together in a story that makes little sense and has it's baddie pulled out of the hat at the end rather than building up to its resolution. Now sure, people like me will still get a kick out of this for its campiness and over-reliance on clichés, but in all honesty, while earlier entries into the series were better murder mysteries, later movies were much funnier (if often for the wrong reasons).

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD