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Der Zinker

The Squeaker

Germany 1931
produced by
Karel Lamac (as Carl Lamac) for Ondra-Lamac-Film
directed by Karl Forest, Martin Fric, Karel Lamac (as Carl Lamac)
starring Lissy Arna, Karl Ludwig Diehl, Fritz Rasp, Peggy Norman, Paul Hörbiger, S.Z. Sakall, Robert Thoeren, John Mylong, Ernest Reicher, Karl Forest, Fritz Greiner, Marianne Kupfer, Antonie Jaeckel, Iwa Wanja, Ilse Lange, Michael von Newlinsky, Paul Rehkopf, Hans Ritter, Gustav Püttjer, Peter C. Leska, Klaus Pohl
screenplay by Rudolph Cartier (as Rudolf Katscher), Egon Eis, Otto Eis, based on the novel by Edgar Wallace

Edgar Wallace made in Germany

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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It all starts with Jewel Harry (John Mylong), a fairly successful jewel thief, being busted by the police right after he refused to sell his latest loot to a fence at an incredibly low price. Scotland Yard inspector Elford (Ernest Reicher) knows Harry was betrayed by The Squeaker, who has a habit of delivering criminals who won't abide to his rules to the police, and of course wants to get his hands on the Squeaker, but nobody, not even Harry can tell him who the Squeaker might be - and then Harry is freed from custody in a breakneck maneuvre by Captain Leslie (Karl Ludwig Diehl), an ex-convict who wants to find out who the Squeaker might be. And he suspects the Squeaker among the ranks of the (legitimate) company he runs with Sutton (Fritz Rasp), but can't put his finger on the culprit. One suspect might be Charly Tillmann (Robert Thoeren), but really, he seems to be more interested in Sutton's niece Beryl (Peggy Norman) than anything else - much to Sutton's annoyance. And apparently also to the annoyance of the Squeaker, as he's apparently after Beryl and thus steals some jewels just to hide them with Tillmann's things to have him arrested. However, the accusation doesn't stick as he has been nowhere near the scene of the crime. In the meantime, everyone on track of the Squeaker dies one way or the other, and eventually it's revealed that the Squeaker has been blackmailing Sutton for years now and now wants the hand of Beryl in marriage even. Sutton wants to poison the Squeaker, but the Squeaker grows wise on him and sees to it that Sutton dies by his own poison - but then has to make a daring escape in which his car catches fire and is ultimately crashed. Harras (Paul Hörbiger), an annoying newspaperman, is the first one on the scene - but is ultimately revealed to be the Squeaker, as Tillmann now reveals himself to be the newspaperman Harras pretended to be who has collected evidence against Harras all along ...

 

While very well crafted and slick-looking, this movie really suffers from two letdowns: One's the acting, which really shows more than anything else that most of the actors aren't really easy with the then very new medium of sound film yet, thus some of the dialogue sounds unnecessarily stilted, and there's overacting in all the wrong areas. This of course is more than anything due to the film's era, and also lends it a certain unintended charm. But what's really a bit of a turn-off is the film's rather confuse writing: Basically the film lacks a proper protagonist, as the possible man for the job, Tillmann, is relegated to the sidelines of being the "romantic lead" until late in the picture, and other than that, the film's much more concerned with laying out a few too many red herrings to distract from the culprit hiding in plain sight - and at least the film's good at hiding the culprit's identity until the very end, but then falls short of giving the character a good motive and backstory. It's really a pity because the film looks pretty good, just could have done with better writing.

 

Interestingly enough, several cast and crewmembers - including writers Egon Eis and Rudolph Cartier - were also involved in the resurgence of German Edgar Wallace adaptations in the 1960s.

 

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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
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
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out now on DVD