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Friday, March 07, 2014

The Walking Dead (1936) - Michael Curtiz

Boris Karloff stars in this dramatic piece about a man that gets framed and put to death. However, his heart is revived by a Mad Scientist of sorts and he comes back to avenge his erroneous death! In a way... 

Boris Karloff gives a pretty decent performance that's very close to his Frankenstein one. What can I say. The guy is a decent actor but he lacks range. I think his most stand out performances thus far, aside from Frankenstein, have been in The Black Cat and The Black Room. Marguerite Churchill wasn't bad. Her character got pushed into the background quite frequently. Ricardo Cortez was a great villain though. He was pretty sinister. 

Karloff starts picking off his enemies one by one. However, he doesn't actually place a hand on any of them. It's pretty interesting and kind of reminded me of Final Destination. That was about the most interesting thing that the movie had going for it. The climax and general lead-up to the meat of the movie couldn't hold water. It felt too much like Frankenstein at times.  

The movie had some really great shots. Hal Mohr had some fun with the camera and let a little German Expressionism leak through. The death row scene is haunting. The infamous piano scene is terrifying. It had a lot to do with the music as well. Great soundtrack, great shots, boring performances.


The Lord thy God is a jealous God!

  • The Walking Dead premiered on February 29, 1936.
  • Karloff didn't like his initial character. He voiced his concerns to director Michael Curtiz who brought in three more writers to add more dialogue to Karloff's character. 
  • The "glass heart" machine used to revive Karloff's dead character was said to be "nearly a perfect replica" of an actual perfusion pump--a device designed to keep organs alive outside an organism's body--which had been built by Charles Lindbergh, when the legendary pilot and engineer was working with a Nobel-winning scientist at New York's Rockefeller Institute research labs in the mid-1930s.

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