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Das Geheimnis der Gelben Narzissen / The Devil's Daffodil
Daffodil Killer

West Germany/UK 1961
produced by
Horst Wendlandt, Steven Pallos (executive), Donald Taylor (executive) for Omnia Pictures, Rialto Film
directed by Ákos Ráthonyi
starring Joachim Fuchsberger (German version), William Lucas (English version), Sabine Sesselmann (German version), Penelope Horner (English version), Klaus Kinski (German version), Colin Jeavons (English version), Christopher Lee, Ingrid Van Bergen, Albert Lieven, Jan Hendriks, Marius Goring, Peter Illing, Walter Gotell, Bettina Le Beau, Martin Lyder, Dawn Beret, Grace Denbigh Russell, Campbell Singer
screenplay by Basil Dawson, Donald Taylor, based on the novel The Daffodil Mystery by Edgar Wallace, music by Keith Papworth

Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle, Edgar Wallace made in Germany

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Available on DVD !

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This film was simultaneously shot in German and English with a set of different lead actors (apart from Christopher Lee, who is in both versions and even speaks his own dialogue in German, too). This review is based on the German version:

 

It seems the Lyne company is smuggling heroin from Hong Kong to London in plastic daffodils, however, there is no proof that the company has actually ordered the daffodils and a telegram proving that goes mysteriously missing. But there seems to be a connection between the heroin smuggling and a serial killer who kills young girls and leaves (real) daffodils on their bodies. So Jack Tarling (Joachim Fuchsberger in the German, William Lucas in the English version) and his Chinese sidekick Ling Chu (tall Caucasian Christopher Lee, looking about as Chinese as Boris Karloff did in the Mister Wong-series of films) from airline security investigate - and soon find a plethora of suspects, like Ray Lyne (Albert Lieven), the crooked owner of the company, Milburgh (Marius Goring), his right hand man, Anne Rider (Sabine Sesselmann int he German, Penelope Horner in the English version), his secretary who seems to conspire with Milburgh, Peter Keen (Klaus Kinski in the German, Colin Jeavons in the English version), his no-good ward, Gloria (Ingrid van Bergen), a nightclub performer who will later turn out to be Lyne's wife, Putek (Peter Illing), the owner of the nightclub, and Lyne's driver Charles (Jan Hendriks) and his girlfriend Trudie (Bettina Le Beau), who definitely know more - and use some technical gadgets to find out more - than they tell either Tarling or police super intendent Whiteside (Walter Gotell).

A routine Edgar Wallace crime plot ensues where the prime suspects are killed one by one by a masked killer and in the end, the real culprit - Peter Keen - is pulled out of a hat, and he kidnaps Anne Rider - who has since become romantically involved with Tarling - to save his hide, but ultimately he gets caught up in a shoot-out and is knifed to death by Ling Chu ...

 

The mystery plot of this film is of course total goggledegook and leads to nothing until the culprit pretty much reveals himself, but when watching these German Edgar Wallace films, one can hardly expect a carefully constructed whodunnit - a film made up of whodunnit clichés is closer to the truth (At least to some extent that can be attributed to Edgar Wallace's writing though). That all said, the film is not half-bad, it's competently done, the involvement of an English production company allowed more extensive location shots (with the actors actually being on location), the direction keeps things going at a steady pace, and bumping into cliché after cliché can be a quite exhilarating experience actually - if you don't take the movie too seriously.

The only thing that really is out of place in this film is Christopher Lee as the funny but mysterious Chinaman who makes up proverbs as he goes along - but it'snot Lees fault that he looks nothing like a Chinaman, it's the collective fault of the screenwriters - for giving him terrible dialogue - and the casting agency - for giving the role to Lee in the first place ... what where they thinking ?

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... 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