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Der Fluch der Gelben Schlange

The Curse of the Yellow Snake

West Germany 1963
produced by
Artur Brauner, Wolf Brauner (executive) for CCC Filmkunst
directed by Franz Josef Gottlieb
starring Joachim Fuchsberger, Brigitte Grothum, Pinkas Braun, Doris Kirchner, Werner Peters, Chrles Régnier, Claus Holm, Fritz Tillman, Eddi Arent, Zeev Berlinsky
screenplay by Janne Furch, Franz Josef Gottlieb, based on the novel The Yellow Snake by Edgar Wallace, music by Oskar Sala

Edgar Wallace made in Germany, Edgar Wallace by CCC Filmkunst

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A sculpture called the Yellow Snake is stolen from Joe Bray (Fritz Tillmann) in Hong Kong, a sculpture that's supposed to unite the Chinese to take over the world or something. Upon the theft, Bray sends his adoptive son Cliff (Joachim Fuchsberger) to London to marry one of his nieces, because their father/guardian Narth (Werner Peters) owes him lots of money. In London, Cliff soon finds traces leading to the Yellow Snake - and to his adoptive brother Fing Su (Pinkas Braun), who is indeed in the possession of the snake and wants to take over the world. Somehow though, Cliff manages to snatch the snake from Fing Su, upon which Fing Su kidnaps Joan (Brigitte Grothum) - the one of his cousins Cliff has decided to marry, and tries to bring Narth, her guardian, into his power ... but has to kill him when he refuses to kill in his name. In the meantime, One of Fing Su's hooded henchmen frees Joan, and upon her return, Cliff sets out with Scotland Yard to raid Fing Su's headquarters. Fing Su in the meantime makes a big speech to his hooded henchmen, when the one who has freed Joan contradicts and turns out to be Fing Su's own father Joe Bray ... and he shoots Fing Su in order to stop him.Fing Su's henchmen now set out to tear Bray apart when Cliff and the police arrive to put an end to Fing Su's whole operation.

 

The film is full of Edgar Wallace-style pulp mainstays like dagger-throwing Chinamen, secret organisations, hooded henchmen, shady businessmen who try to marry their daughters/wards off rich, and of course all sorts of eccentrics. Now this all makes up for some good old-fashioned fun, but unfortunately the plot of Fluch der Gelben Schlange is so ridiculously convoluted, riddled with plotholes and often even devoid of reason that one can't always be sure if this film was actually written (as in, they had a screenplay) and not just made up as they went along.

 

By the way, one of the few Edgar wallace films made in Germany in the 1960's not produced by Rialto but notorious bandwagon jumper CCC Filmkunst, and the company didn't even shy away to hire Joachim Fuchsberger and Eddi Arent, two of the most prolific actors of the Rialto-series, to appear in this one. Interestingly though, F.J.Gottlieb, whose first Edgar Wallace film this was, later went on to direct Edgar Wallace-movies for Rialto.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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