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Die Tür mit den sieben Schlössern

The Door with Seven Locks
La Porte aux Sept Serrures

West Germany / France 1962
produced by
Horst Wendlandt, Jacques Leitienne for Rialto, Les Films Jacques Leitienne
directed by Alfred Vohrer
starring Heinz Drache, Sabine Sesselmann, Eddi Arent, Pinkas Braun, Hans Nielsen, Gisela Uhlen, Werner Peters, Jan Hendriks, Ady Berber, Siegfried Schürenberg, Friedrich Joloff, Klaus Kinski, Erwin Linder
screenplay by Harald G. Petersson, addictional material by Johannes Kai, Gerhard F. Hummel, based on the novel by Edgar Wallace, music by Peter Thomas

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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A priest (Erwin Linder) is killed at Victoria Station by Doctor Staletti (Pinkas Braun), who pretended to try to save him but actually injected some poison. Staletti then tries to get his hands on a key the priest carries, but makes a getaway when the police arrives. In the meantime, inspector Martin (Heinz Drache) receives an unsexpected visit, Pheeny (Klaus Kinski), a small-fry lock-picker who asks for police protection, telling him of a door with seven locks he failed to open - and now his employers are apparently after him, trying to kill him. Martin invites him to stay in his flat while he's out on a case, but when he returns, he finds Pheeny dead, , but with him the drawing of a family crest, which according to this film's logic must lead to the killer. As it turns out, the crest is that of Selford Manor, and the killed priest has to do with the execution of a will scheduled for a few days from now by solicitor Haveloc (Hans Nielsen). And the priest's key was one of seven for a door with seven locks. Another man delivering a key is to arrive at London Heathrow that very day - but he's found dead in the airplane, murdered. So Martin and his assistant Holms (Eddi Arent) go through the passenger list and bump into Bertram Cody (Werner Peters), who lives only a mile away from Selford Manor with his wife Emely (Gisela Uhlen). Oh, and it should also be noted that the current tenant of Selford Manor is of course Doctor Staletti from earlier. Also there's an innocent heiress, Sybil (Sabine Sesselmann), who'll serve as the damsel in distress eventually. Anyways, it soon becomes apparent that the Codys work together with Doctor Staletti to get their hands on the treasure behind the door with seven locks. But Staletti gets greedy and has them killed by his mindless brute Giacco (Tor Johnson lookalike Ady Berber). And to shield himself against the police, he takes Sybil hostage in his secret lab where he wants to create superhumans, with Giacco being his first experiment. But what he hasn't taken into account is that another of his captives, the Codys' shady butler (Jan Hendriks), is actually Giacco's brother, whom Giacco recognizes eventually and then turns against his master, and ... well, it all ends happily, and to nobody's real surprise, inspector Martin eventually gets the girl.

Siegfried Schürenberg's first appearance as chief of Scotland Yard Sir John.

 

Now you'd be hard-pressed to say this is a good film, as its plot is way too convoluted to make any real narrative sense and seems to throw genre elements together at random (like the idea of turning Staletti into a mad scientist for the finale), is cliché riddled, doesn't always find the balance between thrills and funny bits, and Heinz Drache's character's predilection for magic tricks is not only irritating to annoying, it also serves no purpose and really does take the much-needed edge away from his role. That all said, Alfred Vohrer's direction is elegant and playful enough to make all of this into a seemingly coherent whole, and it's at least fun while it lasts, even if its sometimes hilarious for unintended reasons. But an amusing trip down memory lane it sure is.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... 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