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Das Gasthaus an der Themse

The Inn on the River

West Germany 1962
produced by
Horst Wendlandt for Rialto
directed by Alfred Vohrer
starring Joachim Fuchsberger, Brigitte Grothum, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Klaus Kinski, Eddi Arent, Richard Münch, Jan Hendriks, Heinz Engelmann, Siegfried Schürenberg, Hela Gruel, Hans Paetsch, Rudolf Fenner, Manfred Greve, Gertrud Prey, Eva Maria Bauer, Frank Straass
screenplay by Harald G. Petersson, Trygve Larsen (= Egon Eis), Piet Ter Ulen (= Gerhard F. Hummel) based on the novel The India-Rubber Men by Edgar Wallace, music by Martin Böttcher

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

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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There's a killer roaming the River Thames area who has a habit of wearing scuba diving gear and who shoots his victims with a harpoon, and thus he's nicknamed the Shark. Sir John's (Siegfried Schürenberg) Scotland Yard is baffled, but Inspector Wade (Joachim Fuchsberger) of the river police seems to have a clue that leads him to a sinister riverside pub called Mekka, run by shady Nelly Oakes (Elisabeth Flickenschildt) and Big Willy (Rudolf Fenner), a place that's teeming with small fry crooks wanting to make it big like Gubanov (Klaus Kinski) - so there's suspects aplenty for Wade, but also someone to fall in love with, Nelly's ward Leila (Brigitte Grothum), whom Nelly works to the bone, but also wants to marry off to rich Mr. Brown (Heinz Engelmann) - which is suspicious enough to Wade that when Nelly meets Brown, he poses as waiter and steals Brown's bracelet ...which soon enough is stolen from him by the Shark, but not before Wade's key witness Barnaby (Eddi Arent) can identify the engraving on it as belonging to a steamship - which Brown turns out to be captain of. More clues turn up, and also evidence that Leila is actually the swapped offspring of nobility, but it seems every time Wade tracks down a key witness, they are harpooned by the Shark who tends to always be one step ahead to the point where it becomes eerie. But then Wade finds out the Shark must use London's sewage systems to get around and always make his clueless escapes, and he lures him into a trap, with Gubanov, who turns out to be a Scotland Yard undercover agent, trying to intercept the Shark in the sewers - but Gubanov gets harpooned. However, during a chase Wade manages to injure the Shark, to later pay a visit to police doctor Collins (Richard Münch) and unmask him as the Shark, who was the leader of a smuggling ring also involving Nelly Oakes, Big Willy and Captain Brown, who used the latter's steamer to smuggle hot loot from robberies out of the country, and who created his Shark alter ego to kill off witnesses. He poisons himself though to evade arrest. And in the end, Wade gets the girl of course.

 

Now one has come to expect from German Edgar Wallace movies that they don't make all that much sense, but this seems to take the cake, as it seems story elements have been thrown at the plotline at random in hopes that they stick, so we have smugglers, a scary serialkiller, a complex inheritance case, a damsel in distress, an abundance of shady characters, the obligatory eccentric Englishmen, all thrown into one stew and cooked at half flame. And in the end, the culprit isn't worked at at all, it's just the one guy who hadn't acted suspicious all film long - and his whole, otherwise pointless, inclusion in the story made him mighty suspicious to anyone who knows the mechanics of this kind of movies. Now that said, this is still an enjoyable romp to watch if you're into German krimis from the 1960s and don't care too much about narrative logic or proper build-up of a mystery plot, as often with these movies it's the shortcomings that are about just as much fun. So don't expect a masterpiece, or a film you'll remember for long even, and then you'll find yourself well-entertained in a totally irreverent way.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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We're more than happy to announce that our film
There's No Such Thing as Zombies
will premiere at the IndieScream (online) Film Festival on October 28th 6:30 Pacific Time - click here - and frankly, we'd all be happy to see you there.

There's No Such Thing as Zombies is directed by Eddie Bammeke, written by Michael Haberfelner, and stars Eirian Cohen, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi, with special appearances by horror icons Lynn Lowry and Debra Lamb.

See you all there I hope, and if you can't make it, you can rent the movie for the fest's entire run until November 3rd 2021!