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Das Indische Tuch

The Indian Scarf

West Germany 1963
produced by
Horst Wendlandt, Preben Philipsen for Rialto
directed by Alfred Vohrer
starring Heinz Drache, Corny Collins, Klaus Kinski, Gisela Uhlen, Hans Nielsen, Siegfried Schürenberg, Richard Häussler, Hans Clarin, Alexander Engel, Ady Berber, Eddi Arent, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Wilhelm Vorwerg, Rainer Brandt (voice)
screenplay by Harald G. Petersson, George Hurdalek, based on the novel The Case of the Frightened Lady by Edgar Wallace, music by Peter Thomas

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

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Lord Lebanon (Eberhard Junkersdorf) has been murdered, strangled by an Indian scarf, and yet his wife (Elisabeth Flickenschildt) and the family doctor Amersham (Richard Häussler) make it look like a natural death. Now Lord Lebanon of course was rich, and as it is with rich people, he has invited all of his relatives to a remote mansion, and wills his fortune only to those able to stay within the castle (and with each other) for 7 days and 7 nights, all to be observed by his attorney Tanner (Heinz Drache). Now of course, the Lord's relatives are a lively bunch, there's of course his widow next to her son Edward (Hans Clarin), who's so obsessed with playing the piano that he tends to forget the world around him, there's eccentric artist Peter (Klaus Kinski), Mrs Tilling (Gisela Uhlen) and her loud and brash American husband (Hans Nielsen), there's Sir Henry (Siegfried Schürenberg) the explorer who likes to keep deadly animals with him at all times, there's of course the reverend (Alexander Engel), who likes money just a bit too much for a man of his profession and angelic Isla (Corny Collins), who couldn't hurt a fly. And to properly set the atmosphere, there's also a big brute (Ady Berber) on the premises who's the caretaker, and a butler (Eddi Arent) who might just have his own agenda. And of course, there's also a storm, thus all the roads are blocked off, and naturally, after night one, the first person turns up dead, the reverend, strangled by an Indian scarf. Initial suspicion falls upon Tilling, even more so when his wife turns up dead as well after they had a public row and were heard talking about divorce. Tilling's thrown into the mansion's dungeon, but he's strangled in there, and that really puts things into motion, as Tanner, who as the attorney is the most qualified, picks up investigations and finds out everybody has their own agenda - which only seems to accelerate their deaths. Eventually this even leads to Tanner being a suspect and being incarcerated, but of course he can be freed in time. Ultimately, Lady Lebanon finds out that her son Edward is the actual murderer, who has used tapings of his own playing the piano as an alibi while he moved around freely through the mansion's hidden corridors. But she takes the blame herself adn makes a full confession to Tanner - before Edward strangles her even, is chased by the survivors and falls to his death. And as the last heir standing, Isla inherits everything, and from the looks of it, Tanner gets Isla as a thank you ...

 

Now if old dark house murder mysteries are your thing, then this one should be right up your alley as it features pretty much everything that makes the genre from the stormy night (even though the film takes place over 7 days it seems to be constant night) and cut off roads to the eccentric will, from the backstabbing relatives to the mindless brute, from deadly animals to a psycho killer, from the secret corridors to the built-in dungeon. Now don't expect anything new in this one as it strictly follows genre rules, with even the killer being easy to guess early on, but for its lack of originality it's well put together with an emphasis on atmosphere, and all the actors you've come to know and love (or loathe) from the German Edgar Wallace movies doing their shtick. It's fun, really, if little more.

 

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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
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