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Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Ghoul (1933) - T. Hayes Hunter



Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, and Boris Karloff are some of the greatest horror movie actors of all time. They have so many legendary performances under their belts. There were other actors and actresses that were legendary in their own right. Basil Rathbone and Fay Wray are two prime examples, but they just don't stand up to the chops of Karloff or the master of disguise Chaney. That being said Boris Karloff delivers what I believe to be the greatest performance in the first 15 minuets of this movie and peters out. How do you take one of the best actors of horror and make him look amateur?

I really appreciate what the director here is trying to do, this was an independent movie. The film had a very small budget, yet it didn't look like they wanted to scale anything down. The movie looked very clean and even pulled off a minor explosion, but it lacked in the story and really sagged in the middle. Boris' makeup was horrendous.

The movie is about an archaeologist who discovers immortality if he is buried with the jewel of Anubis. So he gets buried with it, but it is stolen and whatever... The point is Boris Karloff is in bad make-up and he comes back from the dead to get his jewel. I'm not here to spoil the movie, but I will tell you that the movie doesn't really deliver where it is supposed too. You get bored easy. OH, and there is this weird sexual tension between two cousins. Its so strange.
Director: T. Hayes Hunter
Producer: Michael Balcon
Starring: Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger and Ralph Richardson
Studio: Gaumont British and Woolf & Freedman Film Service
Release Date: August 1933
Country: United Kingdom
Did ya Know: In the early 1980s, while men were clearing one of the sound stages at Shepperton Studios in England, of old sets and other detritus, they found a locked door blocked by stacked lumber. Behind the door was a disused and long forgotten film vault that had not been used since the mid 1930s. It was cleared and among the many cans of old film, was the original nitrate camera negative of "The Ghoul" in perfect condition. The British Film Institute had new prints made, and the complete version aired on Channel 4 in the UK in 1984. Bootleg videotapes of this broadcast were shared among collectors for years, but when an official VHS release arrived from MGM/UA Home Video, it proved to be the virtually unwatchable Czech subtitled and heavily cut version. Finally, in 2003, just as the title was being prepared for DVD, MGM/UA obtained the superior material from the BFI for release. This restored copy has substantially raised critical appreciation of the film in modern times and has been reissued in 2008 by Network for a bargain price. 










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