Review

  • I'm afraid I can't condemn this film, nor recommend it as "so bad it's funny".

    In fact, despite impossibly silly moments throughout this undoubtedly cheaply made B-movie (the worst being the moment the scientist's daughter is at last let loose from a closet and we suddenly realize that the doctor could have gotten her out a long time before), the film actually has a couple of really important positive qualities. The first is the acting - the actors do a remarkable job with what is very clearly little or no preparation whatsoever. This is especially true of Douglas Kennedy as the criminal who is able to remind us through facial expressions alone that his deepest inner turmoil concerns a daughter he's never been allowed to see - a fact of his past mentioned only once, yet Kennedy keeps it fresh for us the whole movie long.

    The second is the writing. Clearly written "on the fly", the script manages some strong moments, like Faust's decision to return to the farm house for the final confrontation, as well as evoking some unpleasant political and historical issues - the development of the atomic bomb, obviously, but, more subtly, the tortuous pseudo-scientific "experiments" conducted at Nazi concentration camps (which the doctor confesses to having performed).

    All of this not only raises difficult questions for the viewer, but also remind us that the director once made a number of truly amazing films, most memorable being the virtuoso performance of "Black Cat". we'll never understand his failures, but we shouldn't let these make us forget his gifts.