Ben Pivar, Oliver Drake (associate) for Universal
directed by Reginald Le Borg
starring Lon Chaney jr, Anne Gwynne, Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Morgan, Elisabth Risdon, Lois Collier, Harry Hayden, Elizabth Russell, Phil Brown, Kay Harding, David Hoffman, Hanna Kaapa
screenplay by Brenda Weisberg, based on the novel Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber jr, special photographic effects by John P. Fulton, musical director: Paul Sawtell
Inner Sanctum, Universal horror cycle
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While studying voodoo on a South Seas-island, Professor Reed (Lon
Chaney jr) falls in love with and marries voodoo princess Paula (Anne
Gwynne). When he brings her back home to Monroe College where he lectures
though, he has to realize that she still practices what she calls white
magic, which he desperately tries to persuade her is mumbo-jumbo.
In the meantime, Reed's ex Ilona (Evelyn Ankers) desperately tries to
win him back, by bad-mouthing Paula and calling her a witch, by
blackmailing Reed's colleague Millard (Ralph Morgan) and driving him to
suicide, by making one of Reed's students, Margaret (Lois Collier), first
fall in love with him and then, when he ignores her advances, accuse him
of rape, by making Margaret's boyfriend David (Phil Brown) threaten Reed
with a gun and get killed in the process, by trying to convince Paula that
she is under a bad voodoo spell, and by trying to turn Millard's wife
Evelyn (Elizabeth Russell) against Reed ... which is when Reed finally
begins to realize the manifold ways Ilona is conspiring against him and
especially against Paula, and he turns the tables on Ilona, by making up a
voodoo curse that will kill her in seven days unless she confesses
everything - which ultimately drives Ilona to despair and makes her
confess minutes before her time is up, according to the made up
Still, in the end, she dies just like predicted in Reed's curse. So, is
there some truth in voodoo after all ?
Basically, Weird Woman is nothing more than an overconvoluted
and quite boring mystery with some (totally misunderstood) voodoo thrown
in just for a few spots of colour. Unfortunately the whole
voodoo-mumbo-jumbo does little to make the film any more interesting, so
at the end of the day we are left with a dull piece of genre cinema that's
simply not really worth your while ...
By the way, the novel this film was based on, Fritz Leiber's Conjure
Wife, was made into the film Night of the Eagle/Burn Witch Burn
by Sidney Hayers in 1962 in the UK - to more impressive results.