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Der Hexer

The Ringer
The Mysterious Magician / The Wizard

West Germany 1964
produced by
Horst Wendlandt, Fritz Klotsch (executive) for Rialto
directed by Alfred Vohrer
starring Joachim Fuchsberger, Heinz Drache, Sophie Hardy, Siegfried Lowitz, Carl Lange, Margot Trooger, Jochen Brockmann, Siegfried Schürenberg, Karl John, Kurt Waitzmann, Anneli Sauli (as Ann Savo), Hilde Sessak, Petra von der Linde, Eddi Arent, René Deltgen
screenplay by Herbert Reinecker, based on the novel The Ringer by Edgar Wallace, music by Peter Thomas

Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle, Edgar Wallace made in Germany, The Ringer, Inspector Higgins (Joachim Fuchsberger), Sir John (Siegfried Schürenberg)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Lawyer Messer (Jochen Brockmann) and his goons run a white slavery ring in which they use a small home-made submarine to smuggle English girls into international waters. However, Messer's secretary Gwenda (Petra von der Linda) got wind of the whole affair and is thus murdered by one of Messer's men - which gets Scotland Yard onto the case, not just because of the murder as such, but because Gwenda was the sister of the mysterious Ringer, a master criminal whose actual identity is unknown. It's only known that he has relocated to Australia a few years back, but with his sister murdered, he's sure to return to the UK to have revenge. Also that his wife Cora Ann (Margot Trooger) is returning to the UK is a dead giveaway that the Ringer's here as well. Scotland Yard chief Sir John (Siegfriend Schürenberg) orders his best man, inspector Higgins (Joachim Fuchsberger) to give Messer personal protection - and that way also to find out about his racket - while he gets inspector Warren (Siefgried Lowitz) out of retirement to help track down the Ringer, as he was the only one to ever come close to arresting the man. But for the most part, both Higgins and Warren manage to do little to corner the villain, they just walk from one death trap to the next, most of which they escape by sheer luck rather than talent. However, they find one key suspect, Australian crime novelist Wesby (Heinz Drache), who has been on the same plane to the UK as Cora Ann.

Of course there's a twist at the end, when Wesby is revealed to be an Australian policeman, and Warren is revealed to be the Ringer (René Deltgen) in disguise who has taken the actual Warren captive. And the Ringer has his revenge on Messer and company, and manages to escape arrest with the help of his wife and of all people Messer's overly harmless butler (Eddi Arent).

 

Narratively, this movie's a total mess, like most of the German Edgar Wallace adaptations (which is also due to the source material of course), as everything's too far-fetched, depending too much on coincidence, and stuff is just pulled out of the hat rather than a result of narrative build-up. And that said, like many of the Edgar Wallace films of the 1960s, this one's also fun to watch, as it's well put-together, exctitingly paced, and fun for its shortcomings rather than despite of them, and it makes for an awesome walk down nostalgia lane. Not a great movie by any meaning of the word, but a fun watch for sure.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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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